Second bear spotted in Summit Park
June 1, 2012
A black bear found himself in the Summit Park neighborhood last week, prompting the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to capture the bear on Wednesday and relocate him. Residents of Summit Park reported seeing a second bear on Thursday morning but the DWR has not yet responded to the second sighting.
According to DWR Conservation Outreach Manager Scott Root, the two year-old black bear was first spotted in Summit Park early last week. DWR set multiple traps to catch the animal but was unable to until Wednesday morning.
Root said a resident on Matterhorn Drive called DWR to report that a trap was closed and a bear appeared to be inside.
"He was seen by three different residents but he evaded two of our traps," Root said. "The bear that we finally caught in the trap looks like the one the residents had taken pictures of."
Root said in most cases, the bear would have been euthanized since it was seen multiple times in a residential area during the day.
"Because the bear had never been aggressive or caused property damage, we discussed it and decided to release it instead," he said. "We caught it in a live trap that it was lured into by a sock filled with good-smelling treats."
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Crews tranquilized and tagged the bear before he was released in a canyon near Spanish Fork. Root said they used Karelian bear dogs to herd the bear and staff yelled and chased him to "haze" it.
"The dogs are trained to not be afraid of a bear," he said. "We kept them on leash, but had them bark at the bear to make sure his experience with people and dogs is unpleasant and he doesn’t want to be near them again. We let him go in a great bear habitat and everything went great."
Root said that biologists think the bear may have recently been kicked out by his mother and was looking for his own habitat. It could have been lured into the neighborhood by the smell of garbage or food.
"Bears have amazing noses and will follow the smell of hummingbird feeders or dog food," Root said. "Since we are anticipating a dry summer, there won’t be as many berries or water at high elevations for the bears so we may see a lot more incidents like this as the season continues."
Root added that the best thing residents can do to make sure bears are not lured into their yards is to keep the area surrounding their houses odor-free, only take the garbage out on garbage day and not feed pets outside.
Summit Park resident Bill Tumpowsky said he was saddened to see the first bear taken away and excited when he heard reports of a second bear.
"I am not naïve and know having a wild animal in the backyard can be a risk to children and pets," Tumpowsky said. "But we chose to live here and want to be close to nature. We are the ones taking the domain away from the animals."
Tumpowsky said the second bear was spotted on upper Matterhorn Drive and that it is probably only a matter of time until the DWR sets a trap for it.
"We are spreading the info that a second bear was spotted so people know," he said. "When the first one was taken, everyone was very sure that was the only bear but apparently not. It was such a great experience seeing the first bear and I am overjoyed they did not euthanize such a beautiful creature. I know they are dangerous animals, but so are moose and we have them in our neighborhood."
DWR could not be reached for comment in regards to the second bear spotting.