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Wildlife officials relocate 3 grizzlies found near Swan Lake

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KALISPELL (AP) – Three grizzly bears trapped along Swan Lake in Montana were relocated after weeks of roaming the area, invading yards and ravaging garbage and hummingbird feeders, wildlife officials said.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on Friday captured and released two females, weighing 173 pounds (78 kilograms) and 222 pounds (100 kilograms), near the Whale Creek drainage area, and a male, weighing 241 pounds (109 kilograms), near the Canada border, Daily Inter Lake reported.

All three bears were fitted with GPS radio collars, which will be used to monitor their future movements, officials said.

Department specialist Tim Manley first received reports of bear activity on April 18 when the grizzlies were seen feeding on grass along the west shore of the lake and again on May 1 when the bears knocked over a barbecue and rummaged through unsecured garbage.

The bears continued to roam near residences and were spotted eating dog food, avoiding traps placed by wildlife officials.

“Most bears that come into the area don’t cause any conflicts, but these three (have) gotten into garbage and hummingbird feeders,” Manley said, adding that the animals are not aggressive. However, he said the bears could start associating people with an easy food source and doesn’t “want to have people have to shoot or kill bears.”

Experts have encouraged residents to take down bird feeders, keep garbage in garages and use electric fencing around chicken coops and livestock feed to discourage bear sightings.

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