Fridge-raiding bear captured near Strawberry Reservoir and released into wild

Posted at 3:58 PM, Aug 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-07 17:58:55-04

STRAWBERRY RESERVOIR, Utah -- A bear that had been raiding fridges and coolers at Strawberry Reservoir and caused the closure of a campground was captured by wildlife officials and relocated in a remote area of central Utah Friday as cameras rolled.

Scott Root of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said the bear was captured Friday morning in a "culvert trap", which is a method that does not harm the bear.

The animal had not shown any signs of aggression, so officials classified it as a "level one" bear and released it into the wild in a remote location away from campgrounds, buildings and livestock. The location is "about 2 or 3 hours south" of where the bear was captured, according to the DWR.

Officials spray painted the bear with orange paint for identification purposes in case the bear causes any more issues in the area in the future. The animal is estimated to be between 2 and 3 years old, and the sex of the bear was not determined.

Aspen Grove Campground had been closed Thursday due to the presence of the bear. Root said the incident is a good reminder to those who venture outdoors to keep their campsites clean.

Wild Aware Utah is an awareness program that runs a website to educate Utahns about what to do when encountering various animals, from those that are a nuisance to others that are dangerous.Click here for safety tips and information about bears, and visit their main page for much more information about staying safe while recreating in the great outdoors.

The site provides the following bullet points regarding bear safety:

  • Maintain a bear-safe campsite
  • Store food, drinks and scented items securely (in your vehicle, a bear-safe container or tree—never in your tent)
  • Dispose of trash in bear-proof dumpsters, if available
  • Wipe down picnic tables
  • Burn off stoves or grills
  • Pitch tents away from trails in the backcountry
  • Always sleep inside your tent
  • Never approach or feed a bear
  • Report bear sightings to your campground host
  • Take precautions while hiking
  • Stay alert at dawn and dusk, when bears are more active
  • Go with a group, if possible
  • Make noise as you travel through dense cover
  • Stay away from animal carcasses
  • Store food, trash and scented items (such as sunscreen) in airtight plastic bags
  • Keep kids in the center of the group