2008 was bad year for bear encounters

Posted: Monday, December 29, 2008

KENAI - Brown bears on the Kenai Peninsula had a hard go of it in 2008.

Jeff Selinger, area wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Soldotna, said the year will go down as having the highest recorded number of defense of life and property killings, and the highest human-caused mortality rate for brown bears.

In all, there were 40 brown bears that died as a result of human-caused mortalities in 2008, much higher than the annual average of between 20 and 30 bears killed. There also is still one more bear-tracking collar that has yet to be retrieved before the bear can officially be recorded as dead.

Of the 40 brown bears killed, 31 were DLP shootings. Seventeen were shot by members of the public. As to the remaining nine brown bears that died as a result of human-caused mortalities that were not related to DLP shootings, one was hit by a vehicle while crossing the road, two were killed during legal hunts, two were shot by black bears hunters that misidentified them, one was a bear euthanized after it was reported and found to be mortally injured, one was a cub euthanized after its mother was shot and a home could not be secured, and two bears were found shot dead. The shooters never reported them to Fish and Game.

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