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Goose Lake bear cubs heading to Texas

By Shannon Ballard 7:29 PM July 18, 2014

Just as the Alaska Zoo lost the Funny River Five it gained the Goose Lake duo.

Two black bear cubs are adjusting to life without their mom after she was put down Thursday by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

It’s clearly been a stressful couple of days for the bear cubs, who are currently at the Alaska Zoo. The public isn’t allowed to see them, but zoo officials say they are eating and doing great.

The cubs will not stay at the zoo long. As soon as they are healthy enough to travel they will head to their new home — an animal sanctuary in Texas.

The cubs had pretty much made the U-Med District home. Their mom was actually ear tagged in this same area last year by Fish and Game.

Biologists moved the sow to Chugach State Park, hoping to keep her away from people and after their trash. Just as predicted, she came back — this time with cubs.

Trash was their food source and people were getting too close.

Biologists say killing her was the best option. They knew the cubs would have a home and said moving the sow again wouldn’t work.

“We really did tolerate this situation for about six weeks,” said area biologist Jessy Coltrane. “It just progressed and just got to the point where we could not tolerate this any longer. We were really hoping she would take her cubs and move on and it just didn’t happen.”

A lot of people are asking why the state didn’t simply relocate all the bears so far away they couldn’t find their way back.

“Other area biologists in the state don’t appreciate me dropping my problems in their areas,” Coltrane said. “When you have a bear that’s food-conditioned to this extent, and she’s very food-conditioned to human garbage, you’re just transporting a problem to another area. The likelihood of her getting shot in another area when you move her, if I could even do it, is high. “

Wildlife officials urge you to check around your home for anything that may attract bears and clean it up.

Trash has ultimately been the demise of two bears this summer in the Anchorage Bowl. Fish and Game hopes everyone can learn from this and become part of a solution.

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