Perhaps bears need to be warned to stay away from Thurston County; local authorities have shot two black bears dead since Tuesday night.
An injured 1-year-old bear was shot and killed Thursday morning in Lacey after it was spotted near Evergreen Forest Elementary School, Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said.
Two days earlier, a Yelm police officer shot and killed a black bear in the Briar Street area after it climbed down a tree and began running toward homes.
The bear that was shot in Lacey Thursday was reported about 8 a.m. in the area of 27th Avenue Southeast and Timber Court Southeast, Fish and Wildlife spokesman Craig Bartlett said. Law enforcement officials learned it had been hit by a car, officials said, and because of its injury and the bear’s proximity to the school, it was killed.
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“Bears, like many wild animals, can be unpredictable,” Bartlett said.
The bear in Lacey was running down the street of a residential neighborhood and later was spotted in a family’s yard.
“The kids were running all over the house looking out the windows, and I was taking pictures,” Wendy Bailey said.
Fish and wildlife officials take no pleasure in killing bears but must do so if public safety is at stake, Fish and Wildlife Sgt. Duane Makoviney said Thursday.
He noted that Fish and Wildlife would be blamed if it did nothing and someone was hurt.
This is the prime season for hungry Washington bears coming out of hibernation and looking for food, Makoviney said.
“Western Washington is the perfect environment for black bear,” he said.
In Federal Way on Thursday morning, another bear was spotted at the Weyerhaeuser campus. The 2-year-old bear met a happier end; it was headed to the wilderness of the North Cascades after it was tranquilized. Bartlett said officers used doughnuts to lure the bear into a trap.
Compared with the sighting in Lacey, officers were at an advantage at the Weyerhaeuser location because the bear posed no immediate threat, Bartlett said.
Bears aren’t the only wildlife being spotted in Thurston County; deputies responded early Thursday morning to a cougar sighting on Churchill Road in Tenino, Thurston County Chief Criminal Deputy Jim Chamberlain said. The deputies were unable to substantiate the sighting. Makoviney said cougars are not uncommon in Western Washington but usually remain out of sight.
“They’re so stealthy and they’re so quiet, we just don’t see them,” he said.
Olympian reporter Jeremy Pawloski contributed to this report. April Chan is an online reporter for The Olympian. She can be reached at 360-754-4229 or firstname.lastname@example.org.