Bear cub euthanized after mother bear's death

Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- State officials euthanized a black bear cub Tuesday afternoon, several hours after police killed its mother because the adult bear was behaving aggressively in a Juneau neighborhood.

A city garbage control ordinance -- intended to lessen bear-human conflicts by making it less tempting for bears to come into neighborhoods -- took effect on Wednesday.

State Fish and Game biologist Neil Barten said the department tried to find a zoo for the cub but was unsuccessful.

''We could have released it, but the chances of it surviving were zero. With the mother dead, we didn't have much choice,'' Barten said.

The cub, which was born this winter, weighed 44 pounds, Barten said.

Police said they shot the mother bear early Tuesday morning after it attacked neighborhood dogs, growled at officers and broke through a fence.

Mark Kissel, whose huskies were attacked while tied in his yard, said it was dark when the adult bear was shot -- sometime after 1 a.m. -- and no one realized the bear had a cub. Kissel's dogs weren't injured, but one had hair missing from its coat.

Garbage was strewn about two yards in the neighborhood.

Barten said the garbage ordinance that went into effect Wednesday may help prevent such problems.

''The less garbage that is accessible, the less time bears will spend in neighborhoods. And that means safer neighborhoods,'' he said.

Under the ordinance, trash cans must be labeled with the owner's address, and garbage can't be outside until 4 a.m. on pickup day unless it is in a bear-resistant container or a closed garage. A first-time violation can result in a $25 fine.

Under the old code, homeowners only needed to have garbage in a clean container with a tight-fitting lid, said Juneau Police Chief Mel Personett.

Last year, Juneau police responded to more than 1,000 bear calls, and five bears were killed.

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