Rangers sent to euthanize bear who killed officers after it killed some other rangers set to euthanize it for killing campers, killed by bear
A 1,892 lb grizzly bear was set to be euthanized again on Wednesday, days after it killed an entire department of police officers who attempted to shoot it after it killed the last rangers who were trying to euthanize it for killing several campers in the Angelica National Forest above Altadente, officials said. But the small army of rangers who were assigned the task of euthanizing the bear this time was also slain as soon as they tried. The bear’s known body count is now 73.
The bear was found about 12 hours after a string of campground attacks last Saturday and was walking casually, leaving a trail of blood and entrails south of Millgard Campground said Chuck Dinkler spokesman for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Fish and Wildlife officials shot tranquilizers into the bear and took it to a nearby facility, where authorities worked to determine whether it was the same ursine that killed nearly 40 campers.
Biologists took saliva, feces, hair and fiber samples from the bear and compared those with evidence collected at the campsites, he said. The department’s Wildlife Forensics Laboratory works to identify bears involved in human attacks by sampling their saliva and hair left at the scene.
Because the nearly 5-year-old bear killed campers, Fish and Wildlife officials decided to euthanize the animal based on the risk posed to public safety.
But the moment they attempted to euthanize the bear, it tore free from the operating table and killed everyone in the building, then escaped. The police were called, but every officer sent to the scene, even though in large numbers, were also slain as they attempted to chase the bear through the forest.
“At one point the bear had come out onto highway 7 and was being pursued by six police vehicles,” said Sergeant Morin of the Altadente police department. “But when one of the cruisers tried to ram the bear, the vehicle flipped and caused a pile-up. The bear ate everyone.”
With no police left in the area, 19 rangers from out of state who specialized in animal euthanizations were brought in on a bus. The team was dispatched into the forest Wednesday and their remains were found Thursday morning.
“It was bad luck for the rangers and bad luck for the boys in blue,” he said. “And then also bad luck for the other rangers.”
According to the Fish and Wildlife Department, “habituated bears are not candidates for moving and shall either be humanely euthanized or placed with a permitted animal care facility upon failure of the corrective measures.” The grizzly who has yet to be euthanized was deemed unfit to be placed in animal care early in the investigation. Officials said the public-safety risk was incredibly high and that euthanization was the only option. Despite losing several rangers, Fish and Wildlife says they will continue their attempts to euthanize the creature.
The decision has not been made about who will be sent next. “Whoever we send next will probably die too,” said Dinkler, “that’s just the risk that comes with the job.”