DNR Euthanizes Bear in Garrett County
MCHENRY, MD ó The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife & Heritage Service (WHS) staff euthanized a repeat nuisance black bear in the Deep Creek Lake area of Garrett County today.
The 240-pound female bear had lost its fear of humans, and had become dependent upon human food sources. The female bear and 3 yearling offspring had attempted to enter homes in the Deep Creek Lake area several times in search of food since the summer of 2003. The bear had also raided trashcans and bird feeders in the area. Despite several attempts by DNR personnel to modify the bearís behavior through non-lethal aversive conditioning techniques, the bear continued to show little fear of humans and in the past three weeks, this bear broke in to and entered the interior of an occupied home on two separate occasions, even though the homeowner and DNR eliminated attractants.
The female bear and offspring had attempted to enter a home as recently as Wednesday night. The 12-year-old sow had previously been radio-collared as part of DNRís ongoing black bear research efforts. DNR has monitored this particular bear since May 1995.
This bearís history demonstrates the challenge of managing Marylandís growing bear population, given that bears are opportunistic feeders and extremely intelligent.
Marylandís black bear population is estimated to be approximately 400 bears. In recent years, the number of bear-human conflicts has increased. The number of bears hit by automobiles has increased steadily over the past few years; last year alone over 38 bears were struck by vehicles.
DNR receives on average 150 nuisance complaints annually. In 2003, DNRís black bear response team responded to over 80 after hour calls.
When DNR receives a call or encounters a nuisance or ďproblem bearĒ we follow the tenets of our Nuisance Response Plan. Developed in 1996 and updated in 2003, this plan calls for DNR to assess each individual situation and provide one or more of the following:
- Technical guidance to the affected landowner
- Trap and aversively condition problem bears
- Euthanize chronic nuisance bears
Feeding black bears is illegal in Maryland. Deliberate or accidental feeding of black bears can lead to a situation where bears learn to be comfortable near homes and lose their natural fear of people, creating a dangerous situation for both bears and people.
For the complete information on bears in Maryland and how DNR manages the black bear population, visit the DNR Web site at http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/dnrnews/infocus/blackbears.asp
Posted May 28, 2004