The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center announced Monday that a 2-year-old Kodiak bear weighing 300 pounds is missing from its enclosure. The center takes in orphaned and injured animals. The bear was to be moved to a Swedish zoo early this summer.
The center’s Executive Director Mike Miller said the electric fence at the center was turned off for maintenance at the time and something must have spooked the bear named Shaguyik. The center is located near the Chugach National Forest land in the southernmost end of Anchorage. It is about 40 miles away from downtown. The last time the bear was seen was Tuesday night in the mountains between the Portage and Placer valleys.
Jessy Coltrane is the area biologist for Anchorage. In an interview with the AP, she said “It’s not like an escaped murderer has gotten loose. It’s just a bear in the woods in an area where we have lots of other bears.”
Shaguyik does carry a microchip, but does not have a collar nor identifying tags. Air searches have been organized, but to no avail. There is speculation that once she fled into the woods, she just kept walking further and further into the wilderness. At this point in her life, her biggest threat in the wild is other bears.
“There is a chance she’s already been eaten by another bear, or will be eaten by another bear, or something else has happened to her. We just don’t know,” Coltrane said to the AP. Although, not all hope is lost as many orphan bears do survive. She might return to the center if that’s where she’s been fed her whole life.
If you live in the area, be very careful and do not approach a bear that is loose after being captive. She may not respond the same way as wild bears do who have a natural fear of humans. Keep your distance and contact the authorities.
Photo: Chris Corwin (chris.corwin, flickr)