Wildlife officials kill ‘habituated’ bear at Hagg Lake

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — State wildlife officials said they had to kill a young black bear that had been spotted several times near Henry Hagg Lake. 

The bear was seen several times in the week leading up to its removal on Thursday. 

“I know in the area we’ve seen evidence of bears and cougars,” said Jennifer Harrison, who visited Hagg Lake with her family. “My neighbor was driving somewhere in the area and took a picture of a bear sitting by the side of the road.”

It’s unclear if her friend saw this bear, but the Washington County Sheriff’s Office also shared photos of the bear that was hanging around the main road circling the lake.

The bear had become “habituated” to the nearby Scoggins Valley Park after people left food for it next to a road, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

“What we found was a number of potential food sources including one that was right on the shoulder of the road, a large pile of trail mix with peanuts, and stuff like that around,” said wildlife biologist Kurt Licence.

The bear — which had been fed things like trail mix, sunflower seeds and cracked corn — was also seen in selfies taken by park visitors and posted on social media. 

Experts said the bear couldn’t be relocated because it had become too accustomed to humans, which means it was more likely to have dangerous interactions with them in the future. 

“This is a classic example of why we implore members of the public not to feed bears,” Licence said. “While the individuals who put food out for this bear may have had good intentions bears should never, ever be fed.” 

Scattering food, garbage or anything that can attract “potentially habituated wildlife” is illegal in Oregon. 

“It’s unfortunate because it should never be provided in the first place but the situation it was placed in was right near a busy road, right near a whole bunch of people and families recreating,” Licence said. 

Harrison said she’s always wanted to see a bear and regrets that humans cause this one’s demise.

“…. they got bear killed and that’s not OK,” she said. “They tried to do something they thought was a good thing, but it ended up getting the bear killed so please do not feed the bears.”

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