Black Bear Famous For Raiding Convenience Stores Shot By Campers

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California Department of Fish and Wildlife

A rather heavyset cinnamon-colored black bear from California that gained national notoriety for its propensity for breaking into convenience stores was reportedly shot by campers in California earlier this year.

While the video footage and stories of the bear raiding the snack aisle were certainly entertaining, the bear’s ultimate demise is an important reminder that bears that become accustomed to human-related food sources typically wind up being killed in self-defense or euthanized to prevent conflicts with people.

According to ABC News, the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) just recently went public with the story, but apparently, the bear was shot and killed over the summer when it began acting aggressive towards a family and refused to leave a campsite.

The bear became a local legend and was widely known as the “Safeway Bear” after it was filmed searching for an easy meal inside the Safeway grocery store on multiple occasions last year. The bear also raided a Chevron convenience store around the same time, and since then, it had reportedly forayed into other local stores throughout the North Shore of Lake Tahoe.

CDFG officials estimate the bear was about 15 years old and weighed approximately 500-pounds and also had a reputation for crashing picnics and outdoor gatherings near Kings Beach, and was even observed stealing a birthday cake at one point.

As concerns about the bear’s run-ins with people grew, it was trapped and affixed with ear tags and a GPS tracking collar last September and relocated to a remote wilderness area in El Dorado County by the CDFG.

“In a best-case scenario, the bear successfully transitioned to a natural diet and life in the wild, losing winter weight that allowed the GPS collar to come free.”

The best-case scenario never came to fruition, though. This summer, the bear was shot dead after repeatedly approaching a campsite in the Sierra Nevada mountains near the Nevada border. The campsite was being used by a large family with several small children, and the campers feared the bear might attack after several attempts to haze the bear away from the campsite were unsuccessful.

Wildlife authorities investigated the shooting and determined it was justified.

“The animal was a shell of its former self, completely emaciated, its teeth rotten. As one CDFW biologist later said, ‘Ultimately, the actions of the shooter was the most humane outcome for this bear.”

The story is an important reminder that humans should never feed bears. Raising public awareness about the dangers of doing so is a significant priority for the National Park Service

“Sadly, bears that obtain human food may lose their natural fear of humans. Over time, they may become bold or aggressive in their attempts to obtain human food and become a threat to public safety.”

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