Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

A bear doing natural bear things in the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park.

Bear euthanized in Sequoia

By: 
Sarah Elliott

 

A young, male bear was trapped and euthanized this month by Sequoia National Park wildlife officials after breaking into cabins and other offenses in the Silver City area of Mineral King. According to Sintia Kawasaki-Yee, public affairs officer at Sequoia National Park, who requested information from the park’s wildlife biologist, this bear was 2-1/2 years old and had been getting food since he was a young cub in Lodgepole. Then there were a couple sightings of him in Three Rivers before he found his way to Mineral King. 
 
After finding some easy food sources in the area, the bear became emboldened and began to break into and enter cabins at Silver City Mountain Resort and in the Silver City private community. 
 
Dispatching a bear is not something the National Park Service takes lightly. However, euthanizing this youngster became the only option for bear-management officials because the bear had regularly sought food from human sources.
 
The bear associated people with food. It became a matter of public safety. 
 
Relocation, which used to be a common practice in an attempt to rehabilitate a bear, is rarely used as an option anymore because it is likely the bear would continue the bad behavior, either in another area or by returning to Silver City. 
 
The bear was eventually trapped and euthanized in Mineral King on park property.
 
Here is what the bear found in Silver City:
 
—Food via a bird feeder at a private cabin. 
 
—Food that was left in an open vehicle.  
 
—Food in garbage cans in an unsecured NPS storage barn area.  
 
Here are the results of the bear obtaining food rewards:
 
—The bear charged a resident in an attempt to enter a cabin.
 
—The bear began to enter cabins that were occupied and with the doors closed in order to obtain human food. 
 
—The bear broke into a kitchen area to get food.
 
Here is how humans can coexist peacefully in bear country:
 
—Bird feeders attract bears and can attract bears into foraging in areas with people, contributing to a bear losing its natural fear of people and associating people with food.
 
—Don’t leave food unattended in vehicles, even if locked.
 
—Don’t have garbage cans that aren’t bear-proof inside a building if it is ever left open or unlocked.
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