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May 13, 2005
Contact: Doug Williams, (360) 902-2256

'Tacoma' bear caught...in SeaTac

OLYMPIA - A black bear that was captured early May 12 in SeaTac is likely the same animal that had been spotted recently in Tacoma, according to enforcement officers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

The four-year-old male bear was fitted with an identification ear tag and safely released yesterday afternoon in a remote, forested area of eastern King County.

The bear was captured after a WDFW enforcement officer tranquilized the animal while it was in a tree in the back yard of a home just southeast of the International Boulevard - State Route 518 interchange, on the border between SeaTac and Tukwila.

WDFW Enforcement Captain Bill Hebner said it's almost certain that the captured bear is the same animal that had been seen in Tacoma earlier this month.

"The first reports of a bear sighting came from Tacoma, then Fife, then Tukwila and finally SeaTac," said Hebner. "It would be highly unlikely that there would be any more bears inhabiting such an urbanized area."

One veteran WDFW enforcement officer said this was the first bear he had seen in the Tacoma area in the past three decades.

While confident that they have caught the only bear in the area, officers will continue to monitor a culvert trap placed in the Tacoma neighborhood where the initial bear sightings occurred. Any bear sightings should be reported to the Washington State Patrol.