Whether on-purpose or through unsafe food storage, wildlife feeding is dangerous for both humans and wildlife. Every year human attractants such as garbage, compost, fruit trees, beehives, and more bring bears and other wildlife species into residential areas. This issue is growing as more residents and visitors come to Teton County and wildlife becomes habituated to this food source. Conflicts often end negatively for wildlife, either being relocated or euthanized.
Earlier this year, the offspring of well-known Grizzly 610, a 3 1/2-year-old male known as 1028, was darted out of a dumpster and killed after a summer of getting into improperly secured human food. His sibling met the same fate in June, as did another of Jackson Hole’s grizzly bears this summer. And with both grizzlies and black bears scattered all through the valley experiencing hyperphagia – extreme hunger driving their eating behavior before hibernation – others could be next. Bear-proof trash cans are perhaps the easiest mitigation measure we can take in Teton County to reduce human-wildlife interactions.
Teton County should require a
countywide bear-proof trash can
regulation that protects both people
and bears in Jackson Hole.
What We Are Doing
Solving this problem requires collective action from all of us. Tell your representatives to protect local wildlife by mandating Bear Proof Trash Cans in Teton County, and updating our wildlife feeding section of the Land Development Regulations (LDRs).
The public can also help by being “Bear Aware”. Storing bird feeders, removing other potential food sources like pet food, and securing your trash are all good first steps. In addition, we must encourage our neighbors to also adopt these practices, including educating people that feeding wildlife is not only illegal, but detrimental to the health of the animals.
By doing all these things, we can start to address this challenge and protect our bear neighbors.
Join us in protecting bears in Jackson Hole by adding your name to the pledge below. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on how to conserve Jackson’s wildlife.
What's Happening Now
Teton County recently published a draft of updated wildlife feeding Land Development Regulations (LDRs). The Alliance and our partners at JH Wildlife Foundation and Greater Yellowstone Coalition will be hosting a launch event on December 7 to walk the community through the proposed regulations, answer questions, and plan actions to get the updates to the finish line.
On December 13, the County’s Planning Commission will review – and hopefully approve – the updated wildlife feeding regulations. After more time for public comment, the update will go to the Board of County Commissioners, who will cast the deciding vote – likely in January 2022.
Finally, we expect Jackson Town Council to take the new county rules and adapt them for the more urban town setting, hopefully adopting an ordinance before bears come out of hibernation next year.
Once the County and Town pass these regulations, the Alliance and our partners will focus our efforts on an education campaign to make sure everyone participates in building a Bear-Friendly Jackson Hole!