Haines police kill sow and two cubs
July 2, 2020
Haines police last weekend killed the sow brown bear and two cubs that had been causing property damage across town for weeks.
Police responded to a 3:45 a.m. call on Saturday, June 27, on Piedad Road, where they encountered the bears. Police had been tracking the animals for weeks. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game gave permission for the police to kill the bears when biologists visited Haines mid-June after receiving dozens of nuisance reports.
“I wouldn’t call them aggressive, but they were getting into property where there were no attractants,” police chief Heath Scott said.
Police buried the carcasses.
The sow had become accustomed to opening freezers and broke through a door to an unfinished garage. She had become accustomed to approaching people and property since 2018 when the landfill was unsecured, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Carl Koch said last month. Community Waste Solutions has since reduced to a minimum anything that would attract bears, which is one reason more bears are showing up across town in search of things to eat, Scott said.
Police shot another female brown bear last week and cited a Skyline resident after the bear approached their home last week.
“They had a compost pile that wasn’t being managed very well and in an untidy area,” Scott said. “The bear got up on an elevated porch and was still close to the house and wasn’t making any attempts to leave. Out of an abundance of caution we dispatched that bear as well. … Nobody in my department enjoys this.”
Before approving permits to kill bears, Fish and Game checks to see if bears can be moved to zoos or other animal shelters. The department was unable to find an acceptable location, said Koch.
Scott said there’s a male brown bear that some residents have reported causing property damage in early June, but police haven’t received recent reports.
Bear reports spiked last fall. Biologists attributed the increase, in part, to poor fish returns.
Last fall, the borough created a bear task force to address the issue. The task force most recently met in February and discussed the cost and feasibility of bear-proofing CWS dumpsters and the possibility of requiring residential bear-proof trash cans.