January 26, 2012 | Vol. 42 No. 4

Starving cub put down in Klukwan

A malnourished brown bear cub seen around Klukwan recently was put down by wildlife troopers this week.

Stan Hotch photo.
A brown bear cub surprises Tammy and Logan Hotch as it crosses their path in Klukwan last week.

The female attracted the attention of the village, where the bear was spotted roaming and rooting for food. Alaska State Wildlife Trooper Rick Merritt said he’d received multiple calls over the last few months reporting spottings of the bear. But last week the bear appeared to hunker down in an open shed at the edge of the village.

The cub was missing large masses of hair on both sides of its body. Merritt said the loss of fur was likely from the bear being malnourished and since it wasn’t hibernating, patches of fur may have frozen to the ground when it was sleeping then ripped off when the bear got up.

“After talking with the area game biologist it was decided the bear needed to be put down due to its current health,” Merritt said.

Merritt said it’s difficult to determine why the bear wasn’t hibernating.

“The cub may have been separated from its mother too early or the mother may have ran the cub off to mate with another boar and the cub was unable to build a fat supply before winter hit,” he said.

Merritt sent tissue and hair samples to the area game biologist and may be able to determine more about the cub’s health.