EUGENE, Ore. – A black bear that climbed a tree in Eugene yesterday was safely returned to the wild by ODFW biologists.
The bear, estimated to be two years old, was darted with a tranquilizer before being released in a remote portion of southern Lane County in the early evening.
District Wildlife Biologist Brian Wolfer said it is not uncommon for bears to end up in urbanized areas like Eugene, particularly young bears. “This bear was likely still learning where to find the best berry patches and good forage,” he said. “The bear was first sighted at the edge of the city limits when he made a few wrong turns and was having problems escaping the city. Happily, this bear is back where it belongs—in the wild.”
Not all similar situations end this well. Often, bears end up in urban areas because they are being fed by humans—purposely or inadvertently due to people leaving their garbage cans open. Bears that show too many signs of this habituation to people cannot be relocated because they have not learned the skills to survive in the wild and simply return to the urban area to become a threat to public safety. When ODFW encounters a habituated bear, as the department did in Government Camp recently, trained biologists humanely euthanize the bear to protect public safety.
“Yesterday’s events are a good reminder to always keep wildlife wild,” said Wolfer. “Never feed bears or other wildlife. Feeding wildlife and inviting them into areas where people are present endangers public safety and puts the animals at risk.”
Because bear hunting season opened statewide Aug. 1, ODFW has a special warning for hunters in the Indigo Unit where the bear was released. The tranquilizers used on the bear could stay in its system for up to 30 days and the animal’s meat is not safe to consume during that time. Any hunter that harvests a bear in that area should look for metal and plastic ear tags which ODFW has placed on the bear. These tags have instructions to contact ODFW before consuming the meat.
Should anyone harvest this bear or have more questions, call ODFW’s Springfield office, (541) 726-3515. For more information on bears in Oregon, visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/
The mission of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is to protect and enhance Oregon's fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations. The agency consists of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, a commission-appointed director and a statewide staff of approximately 950 permanent employees. Headquartered in Salem, ODFW has regional offices in Clackamas, Roseburg, Bend, and La Grande with ten district offices located throughout the state. For additional information, please visit www.dfw.state.or.us.