October 9, 2013 | Vol. 25 Edition 41

Bear found floating died of gunshot wound

Necropsy performed on the roadside after officials retrieve body

A black bear found dead and floating in Port Valdez last Wednesday was the subject of a conspicuous roadside necropsy.

Photo courtesy Bob Benda
Law enforcement officials in Valdez performed a necropsy on the carcass of a black bear boar on the Richardson Highway last week, looking for clues as to how the mature male died, and why it ended up floating in Port Valdez.

Bob Benda, a retired professor from Prince William Sound Community College, said his son Stephan Benda told him about the bear, when he spotted it from the Valdez Container Terminal, floating with the tide off the floating dock.

“He saw it floating under the cause-way of the container dock,” Benda said. “They said it was moving pretty good with the tide.”

Valdez wildlife trooper Tony Beck confirmed the condition of the bear.

“It was a good size bear,” Beck said, noting its condition was not so good.

“It was floating, it was bloated,” he said.

City officials, including police and animal control participated in the unusual and unsavory business.

“It had a gunshot wound to the head,” Beck said in an interview a few days after the discovery.

The brain of the bruin was removed and Beck said the rest of the remains were turned over to local taxidermist Dave Winney.

City law enforcement officials said the bear found shot in the head was unrelated to a report a week ago Thursday that states a bear was found dead in the bike path.

Valdez police chief Bill Comer said the bear in that case had obviously been hit by a vehicle before it was found dead on the bike path very close to the Brookside Inn on the Richardson Highway.

Comer said after a very peaceful summer bear-wise, a general uptick in bear calls has plagued local law enforcement officials since late September.

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