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Contact: Ben Hayes, 907-983-9206
The brown bear previously wounded during a hazing event in Dyea on July 16 was put down by a National Park Service (NPS) ranger on Saturday, July 30. The bear evaded authorities for two weeks until Dyea residents reported sighting a limping bear on Friday, July 29. After further reports, an NPS ranger located and put down the bear on July 30.
The bear was seriously injured during a "hazing" attempt by a Skagway Police Department (SPD) officer in the NPS Dyea Campground on the evening of Saturday, July 16. Following the hazing event, the Skagway Interagency Bear Management Group, made up of representatives from the SPD, the NPS, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), evaluated the situation and determined to dispatch the bear if it still demonstrated evidence of suffering. On Saturday morning a Dyea resident contacted an NPS ranger and reported observing an injured bear near a fishing slough on the Dyea Flats. Upon finding the bear on July 30, the NPS ranger observed that the bear was suffering from a "dead" hind leg, unable to bear any weight whatsoever, and appeared to lack a visible fear in the presence of groups of people. After these observations, the ranger shot and killed the bear in accordance with the Skagway Interagency Bear Management Group determination.
The NPS and the SPD processed the bear as a Defense of Life and Property take and discovered that the bear suffered from a broken femur and dislocated hip as a result of the hazing incident on July 16. The bear cape (hide) and skull will be turned over to the ADF&G as required by state law.
The Skagway Bear Management Group reminds the public and area residents that Dyea is home to both black and brown bears. Bears are attracted to ocean accessible valleys seeking a variety of natural food sources from berries and grubs to fish. Bears are naturally conditioned to find food in nature, but are also opportunistic and won't pass up an easy high-fat meal. Bears and people can share a common space and both remain safe when we prevent opportunities for bears to find cars, camps, homes, yards, and backpacks attractive. Each agency in the bear management group is always willing to assist and share information to make our homes and activities more bear safe. The group would like to thank the Skagway and Dyea area residents for their watchful eyes and cooperation over the last couple of weeks.