Bear in Denali National Park euthanized over safety concerns

a brown bear with its tongue stuck out
A grizzly bear eats berries near the park road on August 21, 2019. (NPS Photo / Emily Mesner)

DENALI NATIONAL PARK AND PRESERVE, Alaska (AP) — A grizzly bear that was believed to have gotten into buildings and food storages over the last year has been euthanized amid safety concerns, according to Denali National Park and Preserve.

The adult male bear was captured Thursday, and wildlife staff with the park in Alaska recommended it be euthanized because of its persistent behavior and the amount of food it had accessed, a release from the park said Monday.

The bear was deemed to be a safety concern for people and properties in the Wonder Lake and Kantishna area of the park.

“Removing a bear from the ecosystem is a rare event in Denali,“ Acting Superintendent Tom Medema said. “Our mandate is to preserve and protect both wildlife and human life, and these types of actions are very difficult and weigh heavily park staff.”

Asked if this was a matter of improper storage or a determined bear, park spokesperson G.W. Hitchcock said it was believed to be the latter. He said there has not been the volume of camping this year in the Wonder Lake area that there typically would be.

“The bear was really just very interested, very successful at getting into sheds, lodges, facilities, cabins, places where food is cached,” he said.