Brown bear on losing end of Friday collision with car

Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2002

A large male brown bear was struck by a car on the Kenai Spur Highway near the intersection with Beaver Loop and had to be euthanized early Friday morning.

Fish and Game wildlife technician Larry Lewis said he got a call for assistance from the Kenai Police Department at 2:30 a.m.

Lewis said he was familiar with the bear, which he had caught on May 22, 1998, while doing some work on the Swanson River.

Lewis suspected that the bear was one of the nuisance bears from the nearby North Dogwood neighborhood.

"That should cut down on the number of calls from that neighborhood," Lewis said.

Lewis said that a rear pad measurement of 9 1/2 inches would indicate that the bear would "square" to about 9 1/2 feet. Lewis estimated the weight of the bear to be between 650 and 700 pounds.

"It took myself, two Kenai Police officers and a winch to get it into the back of my truck, and my tailgate was at ground level at the time," Lewis said. "It was grunt to get it in there."

The bear is the fifth killed in about a week's time.

Four bears were killed in the Kenai-Soldotna area last weekend.

Two brown bears and one black bear that had become threats to life and property were shot and killed, and one brown bear was struck and killed by a motorist on the Sterling Highway just south of Soldotna.

People can help wildlife managers by not leaving anything out that would attract animals -- namely bears in summer and moose in winter. Attractants include garbage, pet food, bird seed, livestock and free-roaming pets.

"We will start taking a hard line on people negligently leaving things out that attract bears," he said. "If bears become site habituated, then they become human habituated and then they become a public safety problem."

Lewis suggested people take garbage to solid waste facilities often, and if they must store garbage, they should do so in their home, garage or shed. If they keep livestock, electric fencing can be used to protect the livestock and keep bears out.

He also said people should not clean fish in their yards, but rather at the river where the fish are caught.

"People don't know what it is to have a bear problem at their home until they have one. Just because it hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't happen," Lewis said.

He also said people wanting additional information may stop by Fish and Game's Soldotna office at 43961 Kalifornsky Beach Road where pamphlets and flyers are readily available.

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