Wildlife officials shot dead a young bear who had become too comfortable with humans after people started feeding and taking selfies with it.
Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Oregon Department of Fish started getting calls about the bear from members of the public earlier this month, when it was seen at the popular Scoggins Valley Park near Henry Hagg Lake, Oregon.
Many visitors went to the park to enjoy the hot weather and people started giving food to the bear, or leaving leftovers out for it. The little animal had been seen snacking on trail mix, sunflower seeds and cracked corn and photos of it started popping up on social media, where people shared selfies they’d taken.
Last Thursday (June 13) large crowds were drawn to the area for boating and authorities received two calls about the black bear after it was seen nearby, Oregon Live reports.
Officials posted a tweet to warn members of the public to stay away from the wild animal and they managed to shoo the bear back into the woods, but it returned the next day.
The animal didn’t try to run away as the officials approached him; a warning sign the bear had become too used to humans and could be dangerous to anyone who approached in the future. The authorities saw no choice but to shoot the animal.
Deputies are working to get this bear cub near Hagg Lake to go back into the woods… please stay away from the area near Boat Ramp A. pic.twitter.com/tI8m5yTbyk
— WCSO Oregon (@WCSOOregon) June 13, 2019
Wildlife biologist Kurt Licence explained the decision in a statement, saying:
This is a classic example of why we implore members of the public not to feed bears.
While the individuals who put food out for this bear may have had good intentions bears should never, ever be fed.
It was very clear that the animal was way too habituated. With that information, it was a human health and safety risk, and we had to remove it.
We're also sad about what happened to the bear at Hagg Lake. This was a tough decision the wildlife experts at the Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife had to make for the safety of everyone. Relocation wasn't an option in this case. Humans shouldn't feed wild bears.
— WCSO Oregon (@WCSOOregon) June 14, 2019
According to the Mail Online, Rick Swart of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said the bear could have been relocated if he had not been habituated to humans, but as he had been enticed by food too often leaving him to encounter members of the public was too great a risk.
KTVZ News reports it is illegal to ‘scatter food, garbage or any other attractant so as to knowingly constitute a lure, enticement or attractant for potentially habituated wildlife’ in Oregon state law.
Idiots were doing selfies to post to their social media and feeding it, so now there’s a dead bear. 🤬🤬
Oregon officials killed a black bear near Hagg Lake because too many people fed it https://t.co/OIujvCNcLe
— kevin collins (@voxkev) June 14, 2019
Deputy Brian van Kleef, of the Washington County Sheriff’s office, said:
We’re sad it ended this way.
Obviously no one wants to see a bear get killed, especially its many human fans. But I think it was the human interaction that ultimately led to its tragic end.
It’s tragic the officials saw no other option as to how to deal with the bear; hopefully this will be a warning to anyone who considers feeding the wild animals in the future.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to [email protected]
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.