Year of the grizzly: how 2021 conflicts might shape our perspectives on bears

Editor’s note:

This story is part of the Lee Enterprises series “Grizzlies and Us.” The project examines the many issues surrounding the uneasy coexistence of grizzly bears and humans in the Lower 48, which have come more into focus in recent years as the federallyprotected animal pushes farther into human-occupied areas. The 10-part series, comprised of more than 20 stories, was produced by reporters and photojournalists across the Rocky Mountain West.

OVANDO – Which grizzly bear defined the summer of 2021?

Was it Monica, the aging sow on the northern edge of Glacier National Park who had to be killed by game wardens after she and her subadult cubs of the year went on garbage-raiding sprees at cabins along the North Fork of the Flathead River?

Or Felicia, an equally prolific female with cubs who became a traffic hazard on Togwotee Pass east of Grant Teton National Park, inspiring a posse of volunteer bear patrollers who tried to keep the peace between camera-slinging tourists and bears trying to make a living along a federal highway?

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Or was it the unnamed 4-year-old male grizzly that killed a bike-camper in her tent in Ovando, roughly halfway between

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