Biologists shoot black bear after attempted Eagle River garage break-in

Thursday, August 9, 2018 - 17:03

State wildlife biologists killed a black bear on Monday in Eagle River after it was caught trying to break into someone’s garage.

According to Alaska Department of Fish and Game spokesman Ken Marsh, the bear was reported on July 20 when it broke out a garage door panel in an attempt to get at trash inside a home on Prudhoe Bay Avenue off Eagle River Road.

“Once they start breaking into buildings and cars and stuff that’s a red flag for us,” Marsh said.

Marsh said biologists set out a trap for the bear Friday. It returned to the area several times before it was finally caught and killed Monday morning.

The bear was at least the 22nd killed in the Anchorage area this summer, including 13 black bears and nine brown bears. That includes bears shot by all agencies, including Fish and Game, APD, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, and State Parks rangers. There have also been four bears killed by civilians in defense of life or property, according to a running list compiled by the Anchorage Daily News based on reports from Fish and Game.

The black bear shot in Eagle River was one of two bears to die in the area Monday; Marsh said biologists also responded to a male brown bear that was hit by a car on the Glenn Highway near the Hiland Road exit.

The Chugiak-Eagle River area has seen a particularly bloody summer that has included two maulings in the South Fork Eagle River Valley and numerous bear kills, ranging from brown bears caught raiding chicken coops to black bears breaking into cars near the Eagle River Nature Center.

In June, Michael Soltis was killed by a bear about a half-mile from his home off Hiland Road. Two days after Soltis disappeared, a man helping search for him was injured by what biologists think is the same bear that killed Soltis. The suspect bear is a female, and biologists have spent much of the past month trying to trap her. Earlier this month, Fish and Game shot a sow brown bear and two cubs not far from where Soltis was killed, but DNA testing showed none of the bears was responsible for the maulings.

Marsh said Fish and Game is still trying to find and kill the bear. As of Tuesday, the South Fork Eagle River Valley trail in Chugach State Park remained closed due to bear encounters in the area.

Email Star editor Matt Tunseth at [email protected]

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