Brown bear shot in Eagle River neighborhood after getting into trash

Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - 16:14
  • A trash can overflowing with trash sits on Lee Street in Eagle River in 2018. It’s against municipal code to leave trash out the day before pick-up, but many people in Eagle River ignore the rule — which the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said encourages bears to feed on trash in the neighborhood. (Photo by Matt Tunseth/Alaska Star)

A brown bear that was getting into trash in Eagle River was killed Tuesday morning by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and Alaska Wildlife Troopers.

According to Fish and Game area management biologist Dave Battle, the bear shot Tuesday was the second aggressive brown bear killed by authorities in the Municipality of Anchorage this summer.

Battle said in one Tuesday morning incident, a woman cleaning up trash a bear had scattered on her property had a dangerously close encounter with the bruin.

“She was cleaning up and a car honked its horn and she looked around and (the bear) was right behind her,” Battle said.

The woman was unharmed, but Battle said the situation could have been grim.

“It showed no fear of people, it came pretty close to a couple people and in those cases we need to remove the bear — brown bears in particular,” he said.

The bear was shot at around 9:30 a.m. Battle said, at a location near Lee Street. In May, a brown bear was shot on the Anchorage Hillside after trying to get into a chicken coop. He said there have also been two black bears killed this summer in defense of life or property, both of them in the Eagle River area.

Battle said people began to report the aggressive bear roaming the neighborhood to authorities on Monday night.

Battle said Eagle River is a frequent bear hot spot — Fish and Game shot a brown bear last year not far from the site of Tuesday’s incidents — and again reminded people to be responsible with their garbage. Tuesday was trash day in the neighborhood, and Battle pleaded with people to either not set garbage out until the morning of collection or get a bear-proof can.

“If we could just get one message across it’s to get people to secure their trash,” he said.

It’s against municipal code to leave trash out overnight in the municipality. Anyone caught violating the regulations can be fined $75 for a first offense. The Department of Fish and Game can also issue $310 citations for negligent feeding of wildlife.

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