Yellowstone National Park will continue its new policy of moving bears quickly after they begin frequenting areas used often by humans, park Superintendent Robert Barbee says.
Barbee, speaking here Tuesday at a meeting of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, said bears that will be moved include "roadside bears," which once were considered a tourist draw for the park."In one sense, it's too bad because people love to see bears," he said. "But somehow we've got to be realistic about it. We can't put people at risk; we can't have traffic backed up for miles."
If these bears were among the last bears in Yellowstone, officials might close off certain areas used by humans. But with Yellowstone's grizzly population recovering, such drastics steps won't be taken, he said.
Barbee mentioned the developed area around Lake, which sits in the midst of trout streams that are a vital food source for bears.
Louisa Willcox, program director for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, said the park policy implies that bears are now "more disposable than they were in the past."
The park has implemented the plan without any public comment and without considering how it might affect grizzly recovery throughout the whole Yellowstone ecosystem, she said.