Bear spotted on Kent’s East Hill | Update

Wednesday near Service Club Ballfields; bring in bird feeders, garbage cans

A state Department of Fish and Wildlife file photo of a black bear, possibly similar to the bear spotted Wednesday on the East Hill in Kent. COURTESY PHOTO, State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

A state Department of Fish and Wildlife file photo of a black bear, possibly similar to the bear spotted Wednesday on the East Hill in Kent. COURTESY PHOTO, State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

Kent residents who live near where a black bear was spotted on Wednesday on the East Hill should bring in garbage cans and bird feeders to keep the bear out of their neighborhood.

Other than that, the bear isn’t expected to cause any problems, said Sgt. Kim Chandler, an enforcement officer with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“Take the bird feeder down and bring the garbage into the garage,” Chandler said during a phone interview. “A food source is a big deal.”

A bear was spotted Wednesday afternoon near the Service Club Ballfields Park in Kent, 14608 SE 288th St.

The city of Kent posted on Twitter a park safety alert at about 3 p.m.

“Be advised that a bear has been reported seen in the vicinity of Service Club Ballfields and Highway 18. Authorities are aware. Please use caution and stay alert in that area. If you see the bear, do not approach it. Leave the area immediately and call 911.”

According to a Facebook posting, a young bear was seen going through a backyard and back into the ravine between Wynwood Drive and Central Avenue in the Scenic Hill neighborhood.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife tracks bear sightings.

“That bear has been around the neighborhood for about a month,” said Chandler, who added he received reports on June 9 and June 11 about a bear in that area of Kent. “If you look at an aerial view on Google there’s a big greenbelt from about South 278th to 288th. That’s ideal bear habitat.”

There have been 200 reports so far this year of bear sightings in King County, Chandler said. Bears have been seen in Bellevue, Duvall, Issaquah and other cities.

Sightings of bears, however, are rare in Kent. Chandler said there were no reports of bears in Kent last year. In May 2017, two bears were spotted near Clark Lake Park, 12520 SE 240th St.

State wildlife officers do not come out to the scene of bear sightings unless the animal becomes a threat to public safety. Officers did come to the Kent incident two years ago because the bears were near an elementary school when children were in class. They did not find the bears.

“We had over 900 reports last year and not one was aggressive,” he said. “They don’t chase people. They have killed chickens and they killed a couple of goats this spring. But that’s still not a public safety issue.”

People can call the state Department of Fish and Wildlife at 1-877-933-9847 to report wildlife complaints.

“We do like to hear reports of sightings,” Chandler said. “Then we can say, “we know about that guy.’”

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