SEATTLE (AP) — A large black bear that evaded capture in western Washington for more than two years was trapped and killed near Issaquah last week.
The Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife said the 5-year-old bear was captured in the Squak Mountain area, where he had been seen in garbage containers, bird feeders and fruit trees dozens of times over nearly three years, The Seattle Times reported.
The capture had taken on greater urgency because he was frequently seen in residential areas and was wearing a collar that had grown too tight.
WDFW made the decision to “lethally remove” the bear because he was so overweight at 352 pounds — the normal weight for a similar-aged bear is about 200 pounds – and because of his habit of getting into human-provided food sources.
“It was determined this behavior would continue if the bear was relocated,” the department said Tuesday in a news release.
“None of us got into wildlife conservation and management to put down animals habituated to human-provided food sources,” department spokesperson Chase Gunnell said in an email. “But as tough as it was, it was the right call in this case. We hope it’s a wake-up call for folks all across Washington, and especially in King County suburbs, to secure their trash and remove bird feeders and other bear attractants.”