Anchorage police shot and killed a black bear Sunday night in East Anchorage after it charged two people and got into trash.
The bear was getting into unsecured trash recently and biologists had kept an eye on it, said Dave Battle, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Anchorage-area biologist. He described it as a very large adult male black bear.
Around 8:30 p.m. Sunday, the bear charged a man and his son near a wooded area off Foxhall Drive near Cheney Lake. 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, he said.
The bear then moved on to trash cans in the area. Police were called to the area and issued a statement on social media saying there was an “extremely agitated black bear in the neighborhoods near Baxter and Northern Lights.” The message was also sent by text message to people who signed up to receive public safety alerts.
Officers found the bear and fatally shot it just before 10 p.m. on the 2700 block of Kingsbridge Drive, police spokeswoman Renee Oistad said.
The bear will be salvaged for meat by volunteers who work with the Department of Fish and Game, Battle said.
The bear had initially been drawn into the neighborhood because of unsecured trash, Battle said. Once bears realize they can easily find calorie-rich food by digging through trash cans, they’ll often return to an area, which can cause them to grow used to people. If a bear becomes too habituated, it can become dangerous and may be killed by police or Fish and Game for public safety reasons.
The Department of Fish and Game receives reports of bears getting into trash cans each year. The problem areas often shift, Battle said, but areas near Baxter Bog are frequently a hot spot.
“(Unsecured trash is) what caused this situation — without a question. That’s what was keeping this bear in that neighborhood and causing the public safety issue,” Battle said. “People who are keeping unsecured trash in these neighborhoods, they’re causing a public safety issue for all their neighbors.”
Fish and Game recommends the use of bearproof trash bins or keeping garbage secured inside or someplace a bear cannot access until just before pickup. Anchorage residents can be fined for leaving unsecured trash bins out earlier than the morning of trash collection.