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Montana officials euthanize young grizzly bear who lost her paw, release sibling

Searching for grizzlies? Bring bear spray
Searching for grizzlies? Bring your bear spray 06:16

Montana wildlife officials captured two young female sibling grizzly bears, releasing one back into the wild and euthanizing the other due to an infection stemming from losing a front left paw.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said Friday it captured the 2-year-old females on May 29 after they remained close to homes in the Blackfoot Valley about 10 miles from the town of Bonner in western Montana.

The agency said the healthy sibling weighed about 130 pounds and the other about 90 pounds. The healthy grizzly was fitted with a radio collar and released into an undisclosed location.

It's not clear how the injured grizzly lost her paw, but a bicyclist found a grizzly bear paw on April 11 on a road where, last fall, a sow grizzly and three yearling cubs had been seen.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Bear Manager Jamie Jonkel told The Missoulian that the agency is waiting on DNA results to see if the captured bears were part of the family group that included a male sibling. The mother grizzly had been known to raid sheds and garages north of Missoula.

There have been no reports on the mother or male sibling this spring.

In 1975, grizzly bears were among the first animals to be protected under the Endangered Species Act. And as we reported last year, what's happened since – especially in the state of Montana – is a story both of conservation and conflict.  Watch Bill Whitaker's report for "60 Minutes" in the video player below.

Finding ways to coexist with grizzly bears in Montana 13:30
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