Fish and Game staff euthanize well-known grizzly

Posted: Friday, August 09, 2002

DEADHORSE (AP) -- A well-known grizzly bear was killed in Deadhorse after she repeatedly entered buildings looking for food.

According to the state Department of Fish and Game, Grizzly No. 001 was born in the oil field in 1987 and had been fixed with a radio collar since 1991.

''People have watched her for years, along with several sets of cubs,'' said biologist Cathie Harms.''

Fish and Game staff members captured and euthanized the sow Wednesday. Her three cubs will spend a few days at the Anchorage Zoo before they're sent to zoos in Denver and South Carolina.

Harms said biologists killed the bear only after nonlethal options failed.

''We have had no success moving bears away from the oil field,'' she said. ''Transplanting a problem bear only causes problems elsewhere.''

In 10 days prior to the bear's death, the bear and her cubs had broken into a camper at the Prudhoe Bay Hotel, broken into the Fairweather Building two nights in a row, damaging the door frame, entered at least two ATCO units through open doors, and torn a 4-foot hole in the side of an ATCO unit.

The bears also had ripped opened a door of another ATCO unit, ripped through an overhead door at Colville Camp, damaged a door of a communications trailer, opened a refrigerator-type door to a portable building and entered a welding shop, leaving through a window.

Fish and Game officials said the sow had not been aggressive toward people.

A Fish and Game staff member followed the bears for a week and regularly harassed them in an attempt to drive them from the oil field.

''She was hit at least 12 times in the past week with a ''bean bag'' round from a 12-gauge shotgun, but she always came back,'' Harms said.

Trained dogs caused the sow to move but her cubs showed no fear of dogs or humans, Harms said.

Five food-conditioned bears were shot at Deadhorse last summer when they started entering buildings in pursuit of food and garbage. Four were descendants of Grizzly 001.

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