Fish and Game puts down sow, 3 cubs in East Anchorage over threat to public safety

Fish and Game put down a black bear with three cubs in East Anchorage because they were getting into trash.
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 4:47 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Four bears that were frequent visitors to a neighborhood in East Anchorage have been euthanized, according to the Department of Fish and Game.

Fish and Game Biologist Dave Battle said the four bears, who were seen frequently near Cheney Lake and Baxter Bog, had become habituated to humans and their food.

“They had been operating in East Anchorage all summer, getting into trash and birdseed and chickens and all sorts of things,” Battle said.

While the bears were never aggressive, Battle said humans allowed them to develop bad habits which eventually became a threat to public safety.

“They just kept getting worse and worse and more and more habituated,” he said. “And here when we were dealing with them the last couple weeks, because we could them see and evaluated them, we could see they had gotten past the point of no return.”

The final straw came when a homeowner called to say the bears were denning under their deck.

“As you might imagine, no one is really excited about having four bears denning under their deck, basically right up against their house,” Battle said.

Battle said they flushed the bears out with bear spray on multiple occasions, only to see the animals get comfortable under someone else’s deck.

“They would come out, they would be gone for a few hours, they would either come back to that same deck and go back under there once the spray had dissipated or they would go to the other deck,” Battle said.

Battle said Fish and Game looked for a placement for the cubs in zoos or other facilities across the country but none were currently available.

Fish and Game said 20 black bears have been killed in Anchorage this year, either by the agency or individuals in defense of life or property. No brown bears have been killed in the municipality although Battle said it’s believed there are several Brown bears still awake in the Rabbit Creek area that reportedly have been getting into trash.