Troopers Look For A Bear Impersonator Caught Approaching Cubs Near Haines

Photo: USDA.
Photo: USDA.

A man dressed in a bear costume was reported to state troopers this week for harassing a sow and bear cubs on the Chilkoot River.

Mark Sogge with Fish and Game in Haines says their weir technician witnessed and wrote a report about the incident.

Technician Lou Cenicola reported that around 7:30 p.m. on Monday, a man in a ‘realistic-looking’ bear costume ran through a group of people standing on the side of the road bear-watching. The man ran ‘waving and jumping’ up to the weir gate, apparently trying to get the attention of a sow with cubs. Cenicola says the man in the costume got within 5 to 10 feet of the cubs.

Cenicola reported that he ran toward the man to stop him, telling him he could be cited for wildlife harassment. The man then left without identifying himself. Cenicola did get the man’s license plate number, and he reported the incident to state troopers.

Troopers spokesperson Megan Peters says they know about the incident and are investigating. No charges have been filed.

Sogge, with Fish and Game, says getting that close to bear cubs when their mother is present could have ended tragically. He says wearing a bear costume will not deter a mother bear from attacking a person if she thinks her cubs are threatened.