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After months of unsuccessful attempts, Traverse City bear trapped by DNR

Dan Wanschura
Interlochen Public Radio
The black bear seen wandering the Meijer parking lot in Traverse City last year was trapped on Wednesday. This spring, the animal has been sighted about three dozen times in areas near Oryana West and the YMCA.

The black bear that’s been ransacking bird feeders and garbage cans west of U.S. Highway 31 in Traverse City has finally been trapped. 

It’s believed to be the same bear seen wandering the Meijer parking lot last October.

After months of trying to lure the bear with food like bacon, donuts – even Dolly Madison Bakery fruit pies – the DNR finally trapped the bear with birdseed.

“I was pretty excited,” DNR biologist Steve Griffith said. “He’s taken a lot of our time and the longer he was in around Traverse City, the higher the chance was for something just to go wrong.”

So far this spring, the animal had been spotted about three dozen times by people living in the areas near Oryana West and the YMCA.

"Black bears don’t think of people as food, but they learn to associate people with food,” Griffith said.

He says the bear has been seen climbing onto people’s decks and walking down streets with cars driving behind it.

“He’s definitely too comfortable around people.”

The bear will be tagged, and then relocated to an undisclosed location a couple hours away in northern lower Michigan.

The DNR hopes the bear doesn’t return to another neighborhood area looking for food. If it does, more drastic action might have to be taken.

“We’re always reluctant to, but we may have to make that decision where he’s euthanized at that point,” Griffith says. "Hopefully today is a big enough deterrent that he swears off human food.”

Dan Wanschura is the Host and Executive Producer of Points North.