A brown bear sow was shot and killed in defense of life and property by an Arc Loop resident Wednesday, and Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials later euthanized the bear’s two cubs.
Officials responded after a resident reported shooting a brown bear sow getting into a pen with chicken and other fowl. The two cubs lingered around the sow as Fish and Game arrived, said Jeff Selinger, Fish and Game area wildlife biologist.
The cubs’ chances of survival without the mother were “extremely low,” Selinger said. Officials could not find a suitable area for the cubs. In the past, cubs in similar situations have been shot by residents or killed by bears when released into other areas.
“The most humane thing to do at that point was to put them down, so they wouldn’t have to endure additional suffering,” Selinger said.
The resident reported his bear problems two days prior to the shooting. Electric fencing surrounded the pen. Alaska Wildlife Troopers are still reviewing the shooting. Troopers are tasked with reviewing every defense of life and property (DLP) killing.
Kenai Peninsula residents have shot and killed three brown bears in defense of life and property this summer. When compared to recent years, there are, so far, fewer adverse interactions with the bears, Selinger said.
There were two DLP killings in May. A resident of East End Road near Homer killed a young male brown bear, which was also getting into chickens.
Another sub-adult female brown bear was killed in Cooper Landing. Residents reported a bear wandering around the West Quartz Creek Subdivision, rummaging through garbage and destroying bird feeders. Following routine clean up and establishing precautions, the bear disappeared for some time. A bear fitting the same description, however, appeared at Wildman’s convenience store, and a concerned resident shot the bear.
A total of 22 non-hunting mortalities of brown bears occurred last year in the area. DLP killings constitute the majority of non-hunting mortalities, Selinger said.
Prior to 2008, Fish and Game recorded a steep incline in non-hunting, human-caused bear killings, which peaked at about 40 bears. The number of killings leveled out, with the average between 18 to 22 killings during the last three years.
Fish and Game’s management objective is not to exceed ten human-caused killings of reproductive-aged female brown bears; that includes hunting and non-hunting incidents.
For more information on bear safety visit www.adfg.alaska.gov.