A young black bear was euthanized this past week by wildlife officials in Oregon after becoming too friendly with visitors. Members of the public had began feeding the wild animal, even taking selfies with the bear.
Police officers had been called several times since early June, when encounters with the bear became more and more frequent. They assessed the situation and decided to shoot the bear in the interest of public safety. Many people have taken to the Washington County Sheriff’s office to complain about the decision to put down the bear instead of taking it away, possibly to a sanctuary.
"This was a tough decision the wildlife experts at the Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife had to make for the safety of everyone. Relocation wasn't an option in this case. Humans shouldn't feed wild bears. It's a very sad situation," the Sheriff’s office said to one of the many responses.
The 45-kilogram (100-pound) bear was between 2 and 3 years old. American black bear cubs become independent from their mothers at about 18 months, after which they roam the forest in search of food. Unfortunately for this animal, it found humans.
Visitors to the park used food to lure the animal, sometimes in an attempt to take selfies with it. It probably doesn't need to be said, but a bear is a wild animal, not a pet. The National Park Service stated that humans should not feed bears for several reasons.
“[Feeding them] transforms wild and healthy animals into habitual beggars. Studies have shown that panhandling animals have a shorter lifespan. Beggar animals may die from ingesting food packaging. Many animals have died a slow and agonizing death from eating plastics and other materials. Many are hit by cars and become easy targets for poachers,” said the National Park Service website.
The young bear that was shot by police was found by a pile of trail mix, sunflower seeds, and cracked corn that appeared to have been deliberately left out for him.
[H/T: CNN News]