Letters From the West

Grizzly bear bites wildlife researcher in Idaho


(National Park Service)

A grizzly bear bit a wildlife technician researching the bruins in eastern Idaho Monday.

Brett Panting, a wildlife technician working for the Wildlife Conservation Society, was bitten in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, near the Davis Lake Area of Big Bend Ridge in Island Park. The bear ran off after biting Panting, who was collecting habitat data as part of a grizzly research project.

Panting was taken to Eastern Idaho Medical Center and treated for puncture wounds and lacerations. He was being held late Monday for minor surgery and observation.

Big Bend Ridge is on the southwest side of Island Park and includes several cattle and sheep grazing areas. Caribou-Targhee National Forest staff are working with Idaho Fish & Game to what to do about the bear situation and have contacted ranchers in the area.

Rocky Barker is the energy and environment reporter for the Idaho Statesman and has been writing about the West since 1985. He is the author of Scorched Earth How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America and co-producer of the movie Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone, which was inspired by the book and broadcast on A&E Network. He also co-authored the Flyfisher's Guide to Idaho and the Wingshooter's Guide to Idaho with Ken Retallic. He also was on the Statesman’s team that covered the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news in 2007. The National Wildlife Federation awarded him its Conservation Achievement Award.

Posted in Letters from the West