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Peninsula bear entertains kids; officials suspicious of its motives

Photo courtesy of Heidi Hanson via The Redoubt Reporter

When the young black bear saw a van full of children stopped along Skilak Lake Loop Road on the Kenai Peninsula last week, it suddenly got very curious, even "playful," said one of the children's adult chaperones. Katherine Quelland of Central Peninsula Community Services told The Redoubt Reporter the bear looked in the van windows and even seemed to want play peekaboo.

With a van load of children, it was imperative to model appropriate behavior around the bruin, and Quelland said she and the other adults instructed the kids on what to do and what not to do. Then they just sat back and enjoyed the natural spectacle.

"They were really excited, so we told them to keep their voices down and stay in their seats to watch it, and it worked out that everyone got to see it because it came around all sides of the van," she said. "It came very close. It put its paws on the van and got up and looked in the windows. It was totally comfortable with it all and at no time did it act aggressive."

But Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials believe the friendly bear had previously been fed by people.

Read more at The Redoubt Reporter: Bold bear draws a crowd