Drunk Grizzlies Are Disrupting Trains—Here’s Why
A news story out of Montana is highlighting a bizarre issue involving grizzly bears, trains, and fermented grain that may be getting the bears drunk.
Videos by Outdoors
According to the Cowboy State Daily, a Wyoming newspaper, 63 recorded grizzly bear deaths have been on a stretch of rail line outside Glacier National Park. The issue started in 1980, and since then, there have been multiple deaths a year. However, it peaked in 2019 when trains killed eight bears.
According to officials, the grain spills from train cars and the bears eat it. Fermented grain creates alcohol and is the primary ingredient in things like beer. Once the bears eat the grain they become too sluggish to get off the tracks. Many of the bears died trying to outrun the train. No word on where this grain is coming from.
However, in the article, wildlife officials are calling for the local train company to do more to protect the bears.
“BNSF [Railway] have been stalling doing anything for some years believing that the grizzly is going to be delisted (from endangered species status), another reason I am against delisting. They will not have to come up with some type of plan that will give them an ‘incidental take’ permit from USFWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service),” says Chuck, Neal, a retired federal ecologist.
The debate over grizzly bears’ inclusion on the endangered species list saw renewed interest this year. Multiple national news stories about grizzly attacks outside Yellowstone led for some to call for action against the bears. Many areas have seen an increased grizzly population in recent years.