By Polly Keary, Editor
A Puget Sound Energy worker was surprised the afternoon of Tuesday, July 2, to spot a small black bear cub making its way through a residential park on the corner of Rainier View Road and Chain Lake Road in Monroe.
But the worker had the presence of mind to capture a photo of the animal and give it to police.
At about 1:45 p.m., the cub strolled across a children’s play area at Rainier View Park, then scaled a chain link fence and vanished into the woods across Chain Lake Road, the worker said.
The police alerted residents to the presence of the small bear, and workers from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife arrived to assess the situation.
The bear, though a cub, may be separate from its mother, said Monroe Police Spokesperson Deb Willis.
“Fish and Wildlife has a bear dog, and they came out and weren’t able to find it,” she said. “Their theory is that it’s a cub that’s newly released from its mom and is trying to establish its territory.”
Whether that territory includes the park remains to be seen.
“We’re hoping its territory is in the woods and that it was a bad decision on that little cub’s part to come to the playground,” Willis said.
While in the past, animal control workers have tried to relocate bears that wander into residential areas, too often bears that are acclimatized to the location or the food they found there would return to civilization.
So now, often animal control officers will try to traumatize a bear using barking dogs and loud noise, which has been found to be more effective at getting a bear to quit an area.
The best way to discourage bear presence in residential areas is to secure all food waste. Bungee cords on garbage cans aren’t sufficient. Criss-crossed tie downs of the kind using for moving large pieces of furniture, used to hold down the lid of a sturdy garbage can, is one option. Another is to keep garbage cans in the garage until garbage day.