By Melinda Munson
A brown bear was killed Aug. 30 in Dyea by a Skagway police officer after attempts to haze it were unsuccessful.
The bear is believed to be the same one that forced the closure of the National Park Service (NPS) Dyea Campground on Aug. 23 after destroying a tent. The dark-colored bear was originally misidentified by witnesses as a black bear.
Skagway Police Chief Jerry Reddick said an officer was called to a residence in Dyea due to a bear harassing a chicken coop. After repeated attempts to scare off the bear, the animal began “running back straight for the officer.” Reddick said the officer then dispatched the bear for “human life preservation.”
The incident was reported to Alaska Department of Fish and Game, which received the bear’s hide, head and paws and classified the specimen as a brown bear.
According to Reddick, the brown bear was young and weighed around 300 pounds.
“We live in bear country,” Reddick said. “We try to give them the space, the benefit of the doubt. But after dogs, paintballs and bear spray didn’t work, we’re kind of at a loss.”
Reddick reminded residents to put trash out just before pickup and report bear movement.
“We like to know where people see bear activity when it’s in town or near a house,” he said. Reddick said this information helps police keep residents, and bears safer.
The NPS Dyea Campground reopened Sept. 5 with a bear advisory in place. A red emergency phone located near the ranger station at the entrance to the campground is available to report bear activity. Visit https://www.nps.gov/subjects/bears/safety.htm for bear safety information.