Please, Don't Feed Bears

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

Oregon officials have to kill "friendly" black bear after tourists took selfies with it

If you've lived or traveled through bear country, you've no doubt seen the signs warning against feeding the bears. People may have good intentions when they leave food for a wild bear, but doing so causes the bear to lose its fear of humans, and can make it extremely dangerous. Often, authorities must put down such bears before they injure anyone. That's exactly what happened when Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials killed a young black bear that had become habituated to humans. The officials told CBS Portland affiliate KOIN-TV that people had left food for the young bear near Scoggins Valley Park and had even taken selfies with it.

"Experts say once the bear became used to humans, relocating it would not have solved the problem, as the bear would likely have dangerous interactions with humans in the future."

You may wonder why the bear couldn't simply be relocated. Experts say once the bear became used to humans, relocating it would not have solved the problem, as the bear would likely have dangerous interactions with humans in the future.

"This is a classic example of why we implore members of the public not to feed bears," wildlife biologist Kurt Licence said. "While the individuals who put food out for this bear may have had good intentions, bears should never, ever be fed."

In Oregon, it is illegal to scatter food or garbage that could attract "potentially habituated wildlife."

Jennifer Harrison, who visited Hagg Lake with her family, said it is unfortunate that humans were the cause of the bear's demise.

"They got [the] bear killed, and that's not OK," she told KOIN-TV. "They tried to do something they thought was a good thing, but it ended up getting the bear killed, so please do not feed the bears."

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