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A New Hampshire man whose identity has not been disclosed shot and lethally wounded three bear cubs on Wednesday after they broke into a chicken coop on his property.
The young bears were with their mother at the time of their death.
The family had reportedly been causing issues for the property owner for a number of days, killing a number of chickens that lived there and meddling with a beehive on the property.
While not illegal – experts say the incident could have been prevented.
Andrew Timmins, of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, told Boston Globe that he’d have liked if the organization had been able to handle the situation without killing the animals, and that appropriate measures may have avoided the situation entirely.
He said: “If you take a few precautions – if you don’t feed birds in the summer and keep garbage contained and clean up and use electric fences around the chicken pen – you can really minimize these conflicts considerably.”
In discussing New Hampshire bear sightings, Chief of Fish and Game’s wildlife division, Mark Ellingwood told Concord Monitor that bears becoming habituated to human presence can ’cause problems’ and that backyard chickens and beehives act as lures for the animals.
He said: “This is a big issue for us. A lot of people want to free-range their chickens; then they find out about foxes and raccoons and hawks and bears.”