Reward offered in grizzly bear shootings in northern Idaho
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement agents and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game are investigating the fatal shooting of a federally protected grizzly bear and her nursing cub in northern Idaho.
A reward of $10,000 is being offered for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.
The dead adult grizzly was discovered on the morning of May 18 by a hiker from Bonners Ferry. It was found in a clear-cut in Boundary County on Hall Mountain. Hall Mountain is east of the Kootenai River valley and northwest of US Highway 95.
The large female bear was lactating, an indication she was nursing a cub or cubs produced during her recent winter hibernation. A subsequent search of the surrounding area by an Idaho Fish and Game biologist turned up a dead cub that had also been shot. Both bears appeared to have been dead a few days when found on May 18.
Both carcasses are being flown to the US Fish and Wildlife Service lab in Ashland, Oregon, for necropsy and further retrieval of evidence.
A black bear season is currently open in Idaho, but hunters may not shoot grizzly bears and may not shoot black bears with cubs. A bear identification program to train hunters to differentiate the species was posted last year and is available on the Fish and Game website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/education/bearIdentification/.
Grizzly bears are classified as a threatened species in the lower 48 states and are protected by the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Killing a threatened species protected by the ESA carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Anyone with information about this incident should contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent in Spokane, Washington, at 509-928-6050; the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at 208-769-1414; or the Idaho Citizens Against Poaching Program at 1-800-632-5999. Callers may remain anonymous.
No additional information is being released at this time pending further investigation.