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Black Bear Captured and Put-Down in Whitewater

Published On: Jan 09 2013 07:34:50 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 09 2013 09:30:45 PM CST

     An update tonight on the black bear wandering the desert, near Whitewater.
       The Department of Fish and Wildlife captured and killed the bear, overnight. They tell us it was 12-14 months old and about 100 pounds.
       Tuesday night, News Channel 3's Chief Photographer, Christopher Flicker captured the little black bear on camera, for the last time.
     Neighbors tell us it was in a nearby field, where they spotted the black bear. They say he appeared very sick and stayed in one spot for 2 hours. After reporting him close to 5 months ago, concerned neighbors called us, hoping to get the bear rescued and treated. After our report aired,  The Department of Fish and Wildlife went out to Whitewater to investigate.  They tell us the bear was tranquilized around 11 o'clock Tuesday night, to be examined. Public Information Officer, Andrew Hughan says, "A CDFW wildlife officer investigated and found the bear to be in very poor health due to disease and malnutrition. There were no signs of blunt trauma or injury, by a car or firearm. Sometimes wild animals are found in such poor condition that the most humane course is euthanization. That was the case here, and the wildlife officer acted accordingly."
     When we broke the news to Joy Kane, who called us about the bear, she was visibly shaken. She says, "Very upset. This bear's been out here for several months and we've tried contacting several different agencies. The Living Desert, Animal Control, Wildlife and they didn't seem concerned about coming out here to check up on it."
     We contacted The Living Desert's President and CEO, Stacey Johnson. He tells us, "Had we been contacted, we would have jumped all over it and tried to help somehow."
     Johnson says he has a personal and vested interest in the well-being of bears, having served as the Chairman of the AZA's Bear Taxon Advisory Group, focusing on conservation and management for bears worldwide. He also says once a black bear is found in a neighborhood, it officially becomes an issue for Fish and Wildlife, but he would be able to help place the bear after its capture.
     In the end, neighbors just wish there could have been a different outcome, this time around.
     Dina Valadez says, "Why weren't they out here earlier, 4 or 5 months ago? That bear could have been saved."