Photos: Black bear family's last afternoon

A black bear sow with two cubs that frequented several spots in East Anchorage and rummaged through garbage has been euthanized by Alaska Department of Fish and Game workers, according to the department's area biologist.

State wildlife biologist Jessy Coltrane said Fish and Game made the decision to shoot the sow Thursday. The bear was shot near Goose Lake, she said.

"She didn't show any aggressive behavior, but there was just so much accessible garbage ... that it got to the point where she would just stay in these areas with a lot of people around," Coltrane said. "She was coming into close proximity to the people. We just couldn't risk it any longer."

Anchorage police officers responded to Goose Lake on Tuesday to scare the sow off with less-lethal munitions after swimmers in the area became concerned about her presence.

Coltrane said the sow is the same bear often spotted in the U-Med district near the University of Alaska Anchorage. In Mid-June, the sow and her cubs sauntered onto the university's soccer field soon after young campers finished eating lunch. The sow snatched a few left-behind lunch boxes, dragged them into the woods and tore them open for an afternoon snack.

The two cubs were in route to the Alaska Zoo as of 6 p.m. Thursday. Coltrane said the cubs will eventually be transferred out of state to a permanent home.

Relocating the bear family was not an option, she said. It is Fish and Game's policy "and common sense" not to move bears that have become accustomed to feeding on trash. The bear simply would have returned to another area and done it again, she said.