Young bear made its home in Missouri town. It’s now been euthanized, officials say

A young black bear, likely pushed out of its den by its mother, decided to make a home in Joplin, Missouri, media outlets reported.

The 2-year-old bear roamed the town, growing accustomed to humans and their food, Missouri Department of Conservation officials said on Facebook. It ate beehives, rummaged through trash cans and even killed a chicken, officials said.

On Thursday night, Joplin police officers responded to a sighting of the bear in a wooded area near houses, officials said in the news release. They decided the bear was wandering too close to residents, according to KSNF.

“It’s just unsafe for everybody — the bear and us,” Sgt. Dan Haskins told the Joplin TV station.

Joplin police and officers from three other agencies pursued the bear, but it climbed a tree as they came close, photos show.


Eventually, police captured the bear after shooting it with tranquilizer darts, KSNF reported.

It had been darted a couple of times and it was still going strong,” officer Lacey Baxter said, according to KZRG.

Then the bear was put in a cage and given to the Missouri Department of Conservation to be removed from the Joplin area, police said.

The bear was captured and turned over to the Missouri Department of Conservation to be removed from the Joplin area, police said. Photo by Joplin Police Department. Photo by Joplin Police Department

However, Missouri Department of Conservation officials said the bear had to be euthanized, even though the agency typically tries to avoid putting down animals, according to The Joplin Globe. The agency had tracked the bear since July 1 and determined it likely wouldn’t survive in another habitat because it became too accustomed to living amongst humans, the newspaper reported.

“It had been a problem for several landowners,” spokesperson Francis Skalicky told the Joplin Globe. “It seemed to have gotten totally habituated to humans and human food.”

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Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.