In a video shared by Buck’s T-4 Lodge in Big Sky, hotel workers were astonished to encounter the young bear sprawling on the bathroom countertop, apparently unfazed by its surroundings.
“A yearling black bear found its way through a window into the ladies’ room,” Buck’s T-4 Lodge said Sunday in a post on Facebook.
“Huge shout-out to Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks for keeping our guests safe, while recognizing what a once-in-a-lifetime experience it was. They were professional and safe, and provided a great opportunity for folks to learn a little bit about wildlife,” the lodge added.
In the video — which has so far been shared more than a thousand times on Facebook — wildlife officials can be seen preparing a tranquilizer and later carrying the sleeping bear out of the property, as guests rush to capture the moment on their phones.
According to the lodge, the bear was removed from Gallatin Canyon by wildlife officials, to be relocated to another area of Montana and later released.
David O’Connor, co-owner and general manager of Buck’s T-4 Lodge, told CNN: “We heard a bit of a racket in the lobby… Sure enough, the bear had found a window with enough of an opening to get into the ladies’ room by the lobby.”
“The bear wasn’t able to get himself back out as the window was too high, but he was real comfortable there. He just hung out on the counter where it was cool, and literally went to sleep,” he said.
“Once the bear was tranquilized and asleep, (wildlife officials) checked its vitals, did some basic medical checks to make sure he was healthy, and healthy enough to be transported,” O’Connor said.
With the lodge’s proximity to Yellowstone National Park, wildlife encounters aren’t unusual, O’Connor said, but he added that “bear encounters are in their own special category because there is an element of safety to consider.”
“Teamwork keeps people and wildlife safe!” the Gallatin Country Sheriff’s Office later posted on Facebook.
In an earlier statement issued by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) — which supported efforts to remove the bear from the hotel — the wildlife organization warned that Montana is “bear country with populations of grizzly and black bears” that are “increasingly active in the fall months seeking food before denning season.”
It added that it had received “numerous reports of bear activity across the region” and warned that bears that “become habituated are unnaturally comfortable around people and pose a risk to public safety.”
“With the arrival of autumn, bears are increasingly active and searching for food sources … Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is reminding the public to secure food attractants and Be Bear Aware,” FWP added.