Fifth bear killed at Centennial Park in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Another bear was shot and killed Wednesday morning near the Centennial Park Campground in Anchorage where over 200 homeless residents are currently camping.
According to Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist David Battle, an adult male black bear was shot by Alaska Wildlife Troopers at 8:40 a.m. Wednesday on the east side of the park.
“The bear was killed because it had been entering tents in search of food,” Battle said in an email. “This constitutes an elevated public safety risk, so we dispatch bears that start entering tents or structures. There is still a lot of food in tents in Centennial, and it’s drawing more bears in. I know there has also been a black bear sow with a cub in Centennial in the last few days. We’re waiting for confirmation on whether they are entering tents, and what their behavior has been.”
Battle said that multiple bear encounters had been reported over the last several days, but the bears would retreat into the woods before Department of Fish and Game personnel arrived.
“There is a continual supply of bears coming out of those woods,” Battle said. “So any particular bear we killed, there’s nothing special about that bear that made it a problem animal. It just happened to be the bear that came by there, got rewarded for coming into the camp, getting into food and trash and eventually going into tents. Any bear that happens by Centennial right now is probably going to end up in the camp going through tents. So it’s going to be a continual public safety situation until something changes, whether the weather the campus moved or whether somehow the attractants are secured.”
Shortly after hundreds of homeless Anchorage residents were bused from the closed-down Sullivan Arena mass shelter to Centennial Park where camping fees have been waived, four bears were shot on June 5. The black bear shot Wednesday was the fifth bear to be shot in order to maintain the safety of the campers nearby.
Battle said that the bear that was shot Wednesday morning was approximately 200 pounds and that none of the bears spotted have been brown bears, only black bears.
“Bears are active at this time of year, we certainly have bear calls coming from other areas,” Battle said. “The issue in Centennial is just that there is food and other attractants inside tents — in a lot of tents — and it’s the Centennial staff is doing everything they can to try to clean things up. They are limited in what they can do as far as like, violating privacy, going into tents and that sort of thing, and that seems to be the real problem is that there is food in the tents and they can’t always, the Centennial staff can’t always necessarily see that.”
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