A 2-year-old black bear was captured Thursday near Range Line Road in Joplin, but state authorities said the bear had to be euthanized.
Authorities with the Joplin and Jasper County animal control, Joplin and Duquesne Police, and the Missouri Department of Conservation shot the bear with tranquilizer darts in an area of trees at 11th Street and Rex Avenue about 5:20 p.m. Thursday in order to capture it, according to the Joplin Police Department. The bear was turned over to the conservation department.
Francis Skalicky, spokesman for the conservation department, said the agency does not like to euthanize animals but it had to be done in this case, because the bear had become used to being in the city and had not moved on.
"We had been following this bear since the first report on July 1," that it was in Joplin, Skalicky said. "It had gotten into beehives, trash cans and it had even killed a chicken. It had been a problem for several landowners. It seemed to have gotten totally habituated to humans and human food.
Conservation officials considered moving it and releasing it into the wild or moving it into a bear area, Skalicky said, but it could have been killed by older male bears that do not tolerate young males coming into their range.
The 150-pound bear was old enough to be pushed out of the den by its mother — once that happens, bears must move to their own range in order to survive, Skalicky said. But this bear was no longer leaving city limits or searching out wild food, Skalicky said, meaning the bear probably would not have been able to make it living in the wild again. It
"It was nothing that residents purposely did," Skalicky said. "It was not being purposely fed. It got off course where it should not have been."