Fish and Game kills 2 black bears in Eagle River Valley

Monday, June 11, 2018 - 07:15
  • Michaela Canterbury watched from her bathroom window as a black bear pawed at the silver SUV parked outside her home near the Eagle River Nature Center in mid-May. She yelled at the bear to leave and it eventually walked over to the family’s deck. (Photo by Michaela Canterbury)

State wildlife biologists shot and killed two male black bears in Eagle River over the weekend after the animals reportedly opened car doors in the area and shredded the soft top of a Jeep, said the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

“They were breaking into cars and causing some real problems,” said Fish and Game spokesman Ken Marsh. “Damage was reported, from claw marks to car doors ripped off and soft tops torn and destroyed.”

The bear shootings mark the second and third bear kills by wildlife officials in the Municipality of Anchorage this year due to public safety concerns. Wildlife biologists killed the first bear of the season in Chugiak in early May. The brown bear sow had a history of fearlessly raiding trash cans in the area, according to Fish and Game. It and and its three cubs eventually showed up at a year-round retreat, charging a family’s dog and killing 22 chickens and goat.

Marsh said he feels like a broken record, but he’ll say it again: Secure your trash and your livestock. Bears that get used to eating human food pose a safety threat.

“Almost 100 percent of the time, the bears we have to deal with in neighborhoods, that have to be put down, have gotten used to trash being left out or poultry,” he said. “They make a habit out of it.”

Most of the reports about bear break-ins this month came from neighbors in the sparsely-populated areas around Eagle River Road and Prudhoe Bay Avenue, not far from the Eagle River Nature Center, Marsh said. People told Fish and Game that the bears seemed unfazed by humans and dogs. One person said the bears managed to open an unlocked car door.

“They probably weren’t going to hotwire the rig and drive away, they were looking for food,” Marsh said.

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