TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A friendly black bear in Oregon has been euthanized because of its sociable behavior, officials said.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said the bear had been seen near a popular boat ramp at a lake in Scoggins Valley Park, which is about 34 miles west of Portland, and had become habituated to the area.
“Law enforcement became aware of interactions between the bear and humans after some individuals took “selfie” photographs of themselves and the bear and posted them on social media. Over the past week, officers were called to the same area several times where individuals had left food for the animal,” wildlife officials said in a press release.
Local law enforcement officials were called to the area after receiving two calls about the bear and warned visitors to stay away.
When wildlife biologists tried to trap and relocate the animal, they got a call about the bear eating trail mix, sunflower seeds and other food that had been left out for him next to the highway about a mile from the entrance of the park.
They determined it would not be safe to relocate the bear and the animal was euthanized.
“This is a classic example of why we implore members of the public not to feed bears,” Kurt Licence, a wildlife biologists for the agency, said. “While the individuals who put food out for this bear may have had good intentions bears should never, ever be fed.”
The agency explained that it does not translocate bears that have been habituated to humans because the animals are more likely to have dangerous interactions with humans in the future.
“Let’s say she goes back into the wild and she grows up and adds about 200-300 pounds on to her weight. She’s big, she’s strong, and she still thinks she can approach people? That’s not going to be good and somebody is going to shoot her,” said Ann Bryant, the executive director of the BEAR League in California when speaking in April about a bear that was being evaluated after approaching visitors at a resort.
In Oregon, it’s illegal to “scatter food, garbage or any other attractant so as to knowingly constitute a lure, enticement or attractant for potentially habituated wildlife.”