4 bears killed in Alaska campground reserved for homeless

Up to 350 American black bears and 65 brown bears live in the Anchorage region where the bears were killede

Related video: Black bears chase tourists

Alaskan wildlife officials in Anchorage were forced to kill four bears after the animals wandered into a campground where homeless individuals were staying after a local shelter closed.

According to The Associated Press, employees from Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game killed a female bear and her two cubs, as well as another adult bear.

The bears were drawn to the area by the scent of human food inside tents at the campground.

Centennial Park, the site of the campground, is located between Chugach State Park and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, which officials said was a robust bear habitat.

The individuals staying in Centennial Park were previously staying in Anchorage's pandemic mass shelter, which was located in Sullivan Arena. Hundreds of homeless individuals took shelter there over the last two years, according to Alaska Public Media.

The shelter closed, and a group of 84 people managed to secure spots in Centennial Park. In total, there are 210 people living in the park.

The city tried to mitigate the potential for bear encounters by installing “60 bear proof food storage containers, 20 bear proof 32 gallon containers” and hourly clean-ups of the camp.

According to the Department of Fish and Game, up to 350 American black bears and 65 brown bears live in the Anchorage region.

Cynthia Wardlow, the department's spokesperson, told the AP that "it's a busy bear time for us all across Anchorage," and that the area near Centennial Park "does tend to be a pretty active bear area."

She said the high-density housing — and all the food scraps in trash cans — attract the bears.

“Centennial Campground staff are doing the best they can to manage the campground and minimize attractants, but there are still a lot of tents with food in them,” Dave Battle, the Fish and Game department area biologist in Anchorage, said in a statement. “Until that changes, more bears are going to come into the campground and get into tents.”

He went on to say that killing a bear is only a "very temporary solution."

“There are always going to be more bears in that vicinity because of its location, and we can’t teach bears not to eat what they can find,” he said.

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