An “extremely agitated” black bear that was wandering around two Alaska neighborhoods and charged at multiple people was killed by police, officials said.
The Anchorage Police Department first posted about the ongoing incident on Sunday night, writing that the area was having “Alaska problems.”
“It’s a quarter to 10PM on this finally sunny Sunday evening (7/30/23) and we are currently occupied with an extremely agitated black bear in the neighborhoods near Baxter and Northern Lights,” the department wrote. “You will see police in the area. Please use extreme caution if you are going to be outside. It would be a great idea to not leave garage doors and people doors to your home propped open right now.”
The next morning, the department issued an update saying the bear had been “dispatched” on Sunday night “as it was charging people and causing a public safety risk.”
Dave Battle, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Anchorage area biologist, told local newspaper the Anchorage Daily News that the bear had charged at a man and his son.
“The bear stopped about 20 yards in front of the people,” Battle said. “The man had a gun but did not shoot the bear because it retreated into the woods after the charge.”
Battle said unsecured trash led the bear to the area. Black bears are the most common bears in North America, according to the National Park Service, and though they usually are found in forests, they will “move around looking for food.” Battle said once a black bear finds easy access to food through unsecured trash, it’s likely to return to the area, causing a safety risk.
The incident comes just days after officials had to euthanize a five-year-old grizzly bear in Glacier National Park. The bear had become “food-conditioned” and was exhibiting “increasingly aggressive behavior” that “posed a threat to human safety” after successfully stealing food from campers, according to the National Park Service. The bear was euthanized on July 20, officials said.
Last week, a woman was found dead after anear Yellowstone National Park. In June, a A 66-year-old man was by a black bear in an unprovoked attack in Arizona.