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We've been seeing a few bears around since the pink salmon started running, and just had a couple to be killed near the local day care.

Bear killed at day care as it charges trooper
AGGRESSIVE: Officer found it on a slide at Little Bears Playhouse.

By Sarana Schell
Anchorage Daily News

(Published: August 15, 2002)
Alaska State Troopers shot and killed a brown bear Tuesday night in Girdwood after it repeatedly charged residents and refused to be driven off, state officials said.

When trooper Bill Welch responded to an aggressive bear call from the Girdwood Volunteer Fire Department about 10 p.m., he found the culprit in the fenced-in yard at Little Bears Playhouse day care, sitting on a slide.

The bear was apparently one of two grown siblings seen with a sow on Glacier Creek over the past month, Welch said. The sow had charged several people, state Fish and Game biologist Rick Sinnott said.

One man who lives near the creek said the bears were very aggressive toward his children when they played in their yard, Welch said.

"I was told some tourists had shot the mother when she was being aggressive toward them a few days earlier," Welch said. Troopers are investigating that report, Sinnott said.

One volunteer firefighter said the bear just seemed curious, doing a lap around the fire station, hopping up on the fire chief's truck, then wandering off to the day care.

A crowd had gathered at the day care by the time Welch arrived, he said, and as he approached, one young man hopped over the fence into the yard. The bear charged, and the man hopped out, then started walking along the fence closer to the bear.

The bear didn't know which way to turn with so many people around, Welch said.

"Meantime I'm kind of losing my patience with this guy," said Welch of the young man. Welch said he managed, from outside the fence, to shoo the bear out a gate in the far side of the yard into the woods. "I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I have a few common sense left."

But the bear turned and started coming back.

The first rubber pellet Welch fired didn't slow the bear, so he tried another, and another.

The bear speeded up.

Welch changed to real bullets, and dropped the 2- to 3-year-old.

"I hate to," said Welch, adding he wouldn't hesitate if he knew the bear was going to harm someone. "But you'll never know if it would've."

The bear's meat was given to charity, Welch said. The hide and skull will be turned in to state Fish and Game, which will do a follow-up investigation.
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