Food-conditioned grizzly bear euthanized in Denali

Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 3:23 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - National Park Service wildlife staff at Denali National Park and Preserve have euthanized a grizzly bear suspected of getting into food and breaking into property since the fall of 2019.

The bear, described as a large, young adult male, was euthanized on Sept. 24 after gaining access to human food and posing a safety concern to the property and people in the Kantishna and Wonder Lake area.

The bear was caught in a culvert trap that was set up earlier this year, immobilized and then removed for inspection. Staff recommended that the bear be euthanized after it was positively identified as the targeted bear whose behavior had continued through multiple seasons.

The bear was then transported to Fairbanks for necropsy by an Alaska Department of Fish and Game veterinarian.

“Removing a bear from the ecosystem is a rare event in Denali,” said acting superintendent Tom Medema in a release. “Our mandate is to preserve and protect both wildlife and human life, and these types of actions are very difficult and weigh heavily park staff.”

Most bears respond appropriately to actions that steer them away from areas with possible food access, according to the park service, and many bears in the area do not often seek human contact or gain access to food.

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