A rescued brown bear that escaped from the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in April was shot Wednesday not far away in the Portage area, the center said.
Shaguyik, or "Shaggy," was taken in by the center in 2010 as an orphaned cub and grew to 300 pounds. Center staff turned off an electric fence to her enclosure one day in April because heavy snow had damaged it. Something spooked the bear and it jumped out and ran, the first time an animal escaped from the refuge, center spokesman Ethan Tyler said.
The bear was last seen in the mountains near Placer and Portage valleys. Wednesday night, a man living in Portage, across the Seward Highway from the center, shot Shaguyik, Tyler said.
"The staff here is pretty disheartened by it," Tyler said. "It's just kind of a sad day for the center."
Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said the man who shot it -- who lives on the property, near Mile 79 of the Seward Highway -- said he was protecting himself.
"He said he shot it in defense of livestock and because he thought the bear would charge him," Ipsen said.
The mother of Shaguyik was also shot in defense of life or property in Kodiak. A male sibling that was also orphaned, Taquoka, was also raised at the center and was sent to live in Sweden on Wednesday.
"We had a hard enough time sending a perfectly healthy bear to Sweden last night, because we spent so much time with them, caring for them." Tyler said. "It's even harder to find out one of them's been killed."
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