For two years a 5-year-old grizzly bear has been terrorizing visitors to Yellowstone National Park, and in one case may have eaten a bag of marijuana. But his reign of reefer madness and tent-flopping could soon come to an end.
Park rangers were able to catch the bear, mark him and release him back into the wild. Two red ear tags and a GPS radio collar are attached to him. Being able to monitor the bear allows officials to track him down if he reverts to his old shenanigans. He could be killed or shipped to a zoo unless he remains on good behavior.
Since being marked, the bear has been spotted in Cooke City, Mont., where residents nicknamed him “Thumper.” Officials say that after feeding in Cooke City dumpsters Thumper moved to the backcountry.
The bear, which seems to have no fear of humans but hasn’t attacked any, is the prime suspect in several hit-and-run tent accidents. Apparently the bear will belly flop onto tents, knocking them down, and then walk away. One official who saw a videotape of an incident said it almost looked like bear was having fun.
When the bear flopped onto one tent he discovered several packages of candy and a hiker’s private stash of marijuana. One official told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that there wasn’t much pot in the tent, but it looked as if the bear had eaten some. The hiker was later ticketed for possession.