DNR Cites Community Safety for Traverse City Bear Euthanization
The saga of the Traverse City Bear has come to an unfortunate conclusion.
The DNR captured and euthanized the bear on Thurs.
“First we heard stories that he was frequenting Meijer and Lowe’s,” said Traverse City resident Pete Keeney. “I just never believed he’d be right outside our door.”
Kenney said the bear has made his way through his neighborhood, knocking down bird feeders, and even some low pear trees.
“The last couple of nights the dogs have just been going absolutely crazy,” he said. “I thought it was just a deer because we have so many deer, especially here in the woods back behind us, I didn’t think anything about it.”
His neighbors shared trail footage with him– and sure enough –there was the bear wandering through the wooded area.
“You might remember that in April of this year, we relocated the bear to an area near Alpena,” said DNR’s Public Outreach and Engagement Unit Manager Holly Vaughn. “We moved it about 90 miles away and within a little over a month, it had returned to the Traverse City area.”
The DNR was able to capture the bear in a neighborhood within Traverse City.
“We had to make a decision about what to do with this bear,” said Vaughn.
That decision was to euthanize him — out of concern for public safety.
“It’s a decision the DNR never takes lightly and it’s always tough,” said Vaughn. “We had to weigh public safety and human welfare against the welfare of the bear.”
People online have been asking why the DNR didn’t relocate the bear to a bear sanctuary, or even the U.P., but the DNR says it’s just not that simple.
“The bear has been wild it’s entire life, and to put a wild bear in captivity is an extremely stressful situation,” said Vaughn. “We felt that this bear wouldn’t have had a good quality of life going from the wild into a captive situation.”
Keeney says he was frustrated with the decision at first, but understands why it was done.
“It’s sad to see any animal destroyed, but I think in this case it was a necessary evil.”
The memory of the Traverse City bear, well, that will live on online.
“There’s sour cream jokes, there’s roundabout jokes, and the bear will be right up there with them in his own legacy,” said Keeney.