A young black bear in Oregon had to be killed because the public ignored advice not to feed it, wildlife officials say. Authorities say the bear in the popular Scoggins Valley Park just west of Portland had become so used to humans that people were able to approach it and take selfies with it, the Salem Statesman Journal reports. Wildlife biologist Kurt License says he and a colleague who set out to trap and relocate the bear found it eating food people had left next to the road, and it did not budge when they approached. "It was very clear that the animal was way too habituated," License says. "With that information, it was a human health and safety risk, and we had to remove it." Officials say they had reports about the bear starting June 4, when it began to appear in social media posts.
Wildlife officials say bears that have been fed start to view humans as a food source, making problematic interactions in the future much more likely. "We're sad it ended this way," Deputy Brian van Kleef of the Washington County Sheriff's Office tells the Oregonian. "Obviously no one wants to see a bear get killed, especially its many human fans. But I think it was the human interaction that ultimately led to its tragic end." The day before the bear was shot, the sheriff's office said it had been trying to shoo the bear back into the woods and urged the public to avoid the area. "This is a classic example of why we implore members of the public not to feed bears," License says. "While the individuals who put food out for this bear may have had good intentions, bears should never, ever be fed." (This bear was euthanized after it ate a man who died from a meth overdose.)