ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Four of five black bears spared euthanasia after tearing up garbage in Anchorage have come to an unhappy end at their relocated home.
State and federal gave officials on Sunday and Monday shot and killed a sow and three of her four yearling cubs after they continued their destructive ways across the Turnagain Arm waterway in the tiny community of Hope, Anchorage.
The last straw came Sunday night when one yearling climbed into a van at a campground in Hope while the driver was still in it, said Ken Marsh, spokesman for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
“Somebody was in a van, relaxing with the door open, when one of the yearling bears actually went into the van,” Marsh said. “(The van’s occupant) turned around, and he began screaming at the bear and it ran away.”
The sow and four cubs were destined for a lethal end in April after they showed little fear of people and tore up garbage in Anchorage’s Government Hill neighborhood.
The department in the past has had difficulty finding zoos interested in adopting such common wild animals.
The nature of black bears make them difficult to relocate, Marsh said.
“They have a very strong instinct to return to their place of origin,” he said. “Or they end up starting trouble in new places.”
However, after a public outcry, Gov. Bill Walker asked if there was an alternative to euthanasia and department officials decided to move the animals.
They did not disclose the new location, but the secret did not last long. The bears popped up in Hope, again seeking easy food from garbage cans. They also were suspects in a raid on a chicken coop left unprotected when an electric fence was turned off.
The U.S. Forest Service helped out with the bears’ demise. “Between us and the Forest Service, we did put down four of the five bears late last night or early this morning,” Marsh said.
State and federal game officials do not plan to look for the surviving yearling cub.
“If that bear goes off on its own and doesn’t cause problems, we won’t pursue it,” Marsh said. “If it causes problems, we may have to re-evaluate that decision.”