Sloppy Alaskans blamed for cubs' death

July 28, 2012 at 5:42 PM
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska, July 28 (UPI) -- Careless Anchorage residents who left trash where a black bear could get at it are responsible for the death of her cubs, an Alaska wildlife official says.

The bear and the three male cubs had been living in Baxter Bog, with the mother raiding trash cans in the surrounding neighborhood, the Anchorage Daily News reported. Police shot the mother bear Tuesday after deciding she had become a danger because she had lost any fear of humans.

Two days later, Jessy Coltrane made what she said was a difficult decision -- to put the cubs down. She said she had been unable to find a zoo that could take them and feared leaving them in the wild without their mother would condemn them to a slow painful death.

Coltrane said some residents of the Baxter Bog neighborhood had received repeated warnings about leaving trash out overnight and not securing cans properly.

"I mean, it's a postage stamp-sized bog," she said. "But what keeps a bear there is trash."

A state wildlife trooper shot the cubs Thursday morning.

Coltrane said it is illegal in Anchorage to leave trash out overnight. Residents are supposed to put it out the morning it is to be picked up.

Coltrane called this kind of situation "the absolute worst part" of her job.

"This is truly the ugly side of what leaving your trash out does," she said. "Four bears are dead this week, including three little baby boy bears that did nothing wrong, really. They were victims of circumstance."

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