KENAI -- A brown bear sow was fatally shot and her cubs were euthanized by Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials this past week.
The sow was shot by an Arc Loop resident on Wednesday in "defense of life and property," the Peninsula Clarion reported Saturday.
The sow had gotten into the resident's pen with chicken and other fowl. The cubs lingered near their dead mother until game officials arrived, said Fish and Game area wildlife biologist Jeff Selinger.
The cubs' chances of survival without the mother were "extremely low," Selinger said. Officials could not find a suitable area for the cubs. In the past, cubs in similar situations have been shot by residents or killed by bears when released into other areas.
"The most humane thing to do at that point was to put them down, so they wouldn't have to endure additional suffering," Selinger said.
The resident reported his bear problems two days prior to the shooting. Electric fencing surrounded the pen.
Alaska Wildlife Troopers are still reviewing the shooting. Troopers are tasked with reviewing every defense of life and property (DLP) killing.
Kenai Peninsula residents have shot and killed three brown bears in defense of life and property this summer. When compared to recent years, there are, so far, fewer adverse interactions with the bears, Selinger said.
There were two DLP killings in May, including one also featuring a bear breaking into a chicken coop.
A total of 22 non-hunting mortalities of brown bears occurred last year in the area. DLP killings constitute the majority of non-hunting mortalities, Selinger said.
Prior to 2008, Fish and Game recorded a steep incline in non-hunting, human-caused bear killings, which peaked at about 40 bears. The number of killings leveled out, with the average between 18 to 22 during the last three years.
Fish and Game's management objective is not to exceed 10 human-caused killings of reproductive-aged female brown bears; that includes hunting and non-hunting incidents.