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WILDLIFE OFFICIALS KILL DARING GRIZZLY

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Wildlife officials killed grizzly No. 233 this month, unable to find a zoo willing to take the three-time loser that would not learn to stay away from humans.

The 173-pound male was trapped during his second food raid on a dude ranch south of Big Timber. The decision to give a lethal injection was made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks."The bear had been in trouble three times before," said Bernie Kuntz, information officer for the Bozeman office of the state department.

"This is what happens when grizzly bears get habituated to humans. He was just focusing in on humans - that's what the food source was. That's why we tell people not to feed bears."

No. 233 had been trapped recently in the Jackson Lake Lodge and Colter Bay areas of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. It was first trapped near West Yellowstone in 1994 and was taken to the Teton wilderness, where it stayed until 1995.

Also this month, wildlife officials took No. 233 by helicopter from Grand Teton to a remote part of the Absarokee Mountains north of Yellowstone National Park.

The bear broke into a trailer at the Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch 42 miles south of Big Timber. When it returned, game warden Ron Carlson had a trap waiting.

"He set and baited the trap and we waited," said Bryant Blewett, part owner of the guest ranch. "9 p.m. 233 returned, and the door slammed shut . . . He was one mad bear."

Wildlife biologist Claire Simmons said No. 233 had never shown aggression toward humans, but was dangerous because it associated humans with food.