Posted: Feb 7, 2013 6:34 PM by Judy Slate
Updated: Feb 7, 2013 9:31 PM
FWP has been investigating Animals of Montana since November 4, 2012 when a staff member there was killed by a captive grizzly bear. During the investigation FWP says they uncovered other incidents that either went unreported or were under reported.
For example, FWP says captive animals, including a African lion and wolf pups, escaped from the facility. They also say a staff member was serious injured by a mountain lion in an incident that Animals of Montana reported as a "scratch".
Regarding the death of the employee, FWP says they will no longer provide indemnity permits for "Yosemite", the brother of the bear blamed for the death who was present at the time the man was killed. The bear will also not be allowed around members of the public. This decision puts Yosemite out of work. Animals of Montana has another bear that will be allowed to work. The business provides captive animals for wildlife photography and filming purposes.
In addition, FWP told Animals of Montana in a letter that if they fail to report any other incidents they will lose their license to operate.
We spoke with Demetri Price at Animals of Montana. He says they believe FWP is trying to shut them down and says they are disappointed by the FWP decision regarding Yosemite. They also say no one from FWP has been out to visit the facility to see how they operate, even though they have been invited. Right now Animals of Montana is trying to decide what steps to take next.