Tuesday morning officials with Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game euthanized a large black bear who had been wreaking havoc on a Juneau mobile home park for a number of years.
The bear became trapped in the arctic entry area of a mobile home and came face-to-face with the homeowner, Leoni Johnson. Acting quickly, Johnson slammed the door shut and immediately called 911 while her two small dogs “started going nuts.”
Alaska Fish and Game were alerted to the situation and were on site to deal with the large bruin. According to Stephanie Sell, a fish and game biologist with the department, this bear was well-known in the area for its destructive behavior. The decision was eventually made to euthanize the animal, one that Sell noted was the largest she had ever personally handled.
“It was a very, very large male,” she told the Juneau Empire.
Based on a number of complaints in the area, Fish and Game had attempted, unsuccessfully, on many occasions to trap the animal. Instead, they had captured five other bears instead. Once the problem bear was identified to have been trapped inside the trailer, the decision to dispatch the bear was made.
“This was a massive bear,” she said. “He could cause some serious damage. He was tearing the structure apart trying to get out. … After I darted it, he busted right through the wall.”
While there was no trash present in Johnson’s arctic entry, it is a common practice among many of the residents in the mobile home park. Sell went on to enforce the idea that trash and other attractants must be handled properly when dealing with areas with high concentrations of bears.
“We work hard to make people aware that the bears are in the area because of the attractants,” Sell said, citing garbage and chickens in particular.
“I think people become complacent — they need to be proactive instead of reactive,” she added.