Washington County, Oregon – Wildlife biologists from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife lethally removed a black bear that had been seen next to  a popular boat ramp at Henry Hagg Lake numerous times over the past week, prompting multiple calls to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police.

Wildlife officials were summoned to the scene early this morning after state troopers reported that the bear had become habituated to the park as the result of people feeding the animal, which biologists encountered eating trail mix, sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and other foodstuffs left next to the highway near the intersection of Scoggins Valley Road and Herr Road approximately one mile to entrance of Scoggins Valley Park. Law enforcement became aware of interactions between the bear and humans after some individuals took “selfie” photographs of themselves and the bear and posted them on social media. Over the past week, officers were called to the same area several times where individuals had left food for the animal. Under ORS496.615 it is illegal to “scatter food, garbage or any other attractant so as to knowingly constitute a lure, enticement or attractant for potentially habituated wildlife.”

ODFW does not trans-locate bears that have been habituated to humans because these animals are much more likely to 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,” said Kurt Licence. “While the individuals who put food out for this bear may have had good intentions bears should never, ever be fed.

In addition to creating a threat to public safety, people can harm wild animals by feeding them “junk food” that potentially will make them sick.

“It’s never a good idea to feed wild animals,” said Licence, adding, “They are perfectly capable of fending for themselves, and it’s always better to leave them alone and enjoy them from a safe distance.”

For more information on how to safely and responsibly interact with Oregon’s black bears, please visit ODFW’s “Living with Wildlife” section online at https://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/black_bears.asp

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