Authorities investigate killing of grizzly bear in E. Idaho

October 8, 2020 GMT

ASHTON, Idaho (AP) — Wildlife officials are investigating the killing of a federally protected grizzly bear in eastern Idaho near Yellowstone National Park that had been part of a research study.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says the 20-year-old, adult male grizzly weighing 500 pounds (225 kilograms) was shot Sept. 29 in Fremont County.

Officials say a tracking collar put on the bear earlier this year as part of the study sent out a mortality signal. Biologists went to retrieve the collar on Oct. 1 and discovered the grizzly had died after being shot in the side. Biologists recovered a rifle bullet.

Biologists followed a blood trail to a clearing called Coyote Meadows where the bear had been shot. The area is near the southwestern corner of Yellowstone National Park.

Anyone with information about the killing is asked to call Fish and Game.

The National Park Service estimates there were about 725 grizzly bears in the park and surrounding areas in 2019.

Idaho planned to hold a hunting season for grizzly bears in 2018, but a U.S. District Court judge restored federal protections after ruling the genetic health of the bears remained in doubt. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling in July.