- Associated Press - Friday, May 20, 2016

KODIAK, Alaska (AP) - A state wildlife trooper shot and killed a brown bear in Kodiak following a week of reported bear sightings in the community, including near an elementary school where the animal was ultimately killed.

Sgt. Shane Nicholson, with the Alaska Wildlife Troopers, shot the three-year-old male bear Wednesday. An alert was issued to the community when the bear was verified near East Elementary School in the morning, citing “concern for children as they are on their way to school.” Troopers tracked the animal until they were able to make the kill in the afternoon on private property about a half mile from the school, The Kodiak Daily Mirror reported (https://bit.ly/1OQesah).

AWT and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game had received reports of bear sightings each day for a week leading up to the shooting. Signs were posted along trails in Abercrombie State Park warning visitors of bear activity, and photos of the bear were also posted on Facebook by residents who spotted it in town and at Mill Bay Beach.

Wildlife troopers had tried to use nonlethal means to deter the bear with rubber bullets and cracker shells, but the reports didn’t stop.

Nathan Svoboda, a wildlife biologist with the department, said the bear had grown accustomed to finding food in the area. State policy does not allow for bears that come into town to be tranquilized and relocated, so the bear had to be killed, he said.

“We never make that decision right off the bat,” Svoboda said. “We try to be proactive and try to do things to reduce the bear coming into town, but certain circumstances like this, when he’s just too used to it, we just kind of run out of options.”

Svoboda said the bear killed Wednesday is likely different from one spotted rummaging in trash bins near the Kodiak airport and Coast Guard base, based on the timing and that bear’s reportedly larger size.

The number of bears that come into the Kodiak area varies each year. Although, Svoboda said there is likely more activity than what gets reported, as the bears near town often adapt to making appearances only at nighttime.

“We live in a bear community. Despite what some people may think, bears are in and out of town pretty much all the time,” he said.


This story has been corrected to fix reference to Kodiak from Ketchikan in 7th and 8th paragraphs.


Information from: Kodiak (Alaska) Daily Mirror, https://www.kodiakdailymirror.com

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