A friendly black bear cub is dead because people fed and took selfies with the wild animal.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announced they “lethally removed a black bear” that was hanging out next to a popular boat ramp in a park.
It all started last week when police discovered the bear cub had a good thing going near the Scoggins Valley Park: Free food.
State officials said in a news release when wildlife biologists got called out to investigate they discovered he was “eating trail mix, sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and other foodstuffs left next to the highway.”
They also found, “some individuals took ‘selfie’ photographs of themselves and the bear and posted them on social media.”
At first the local sheriff’s department tweeted they were trying to lure the bear back into the woods, and warned people to leave him alone.
But the next day officials killed the bear saying, “ODFW does not translocate bears that have been habituated to humans because these animals are much more likely to have dangerous interactions with humans in the future.”
People were furious when they heard the news and started commenting on the sheriff's department tweet. One person wrote, "Why did they have to kill him????!! Couldn’t they anesthetize him and relocate him? WTH?!!"
But officials said that wasn't an option.
“This is a classic example of why we implore members of the public not to feed bears,” said Kurt Licence.
“While the individuals who put food out for this bear may have had good intentions bears should never, ever be fed. In addition to creating a threat to public safety, people can harm wild animals by feeding them “junk food” that potentially will make them sick.
“It’s never a good idea to feed wild animals,” said Licence, adding, “They are perfectly capable of fending for themselves, and it’s always better to leave them alone and enjoy them from a safe distance.”
So when you see the signs that say: “Don’t feed the bears,” don’t feed the bears. Don’t take selfies with them either. It could cost a bear their life. File this under “people suck.”
If you want to learn how not to get a bear killed by doing dumb things check out the “Living with Wildlife” section on the ODFW website.