Biologist Shoots Motherless Bear Cubs; Neighbors Upset

courtesy of Anchorage Daily News
by Casey Grove

A state wildlife biologist shot and killed two orphaned black bear cubs Wednesday on the Anchorage Hillside, upsetting some residents of the neighborhood.

The cubs’ mother was killed about three weeks ago when a resident shot the animal to protect his property, said Jessy Coltrane, Anchorage area biologist with the Department of Fish and Game. Without their mother, the cubs would have eventually been killed by another bear or died of starvation, Coltrane said.

“The most humane thing is to put them down,” she said. “It is hands-down the least favorite part of my job.”

Coltrane received numerous phone calls about the cubs in the weeks after the sow’s death, she said. But the calls always came in too late to provide accurate information on the cubs’ whereabouts. Then, Wednesday morning, Coltrane said, a caller reported the cubs were in a tree near his house in a subdivision south of Rabbit Creek Road and above Golden View Drive.

“Unfortunately, because black bears are very common in the Lower 48 and up here, there’s not a lot of facilities that want them,” Coltrane said. Any facilities that might have taken the cubs were already full, she said.

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