MOSCOW — A two-year old grizzly bear was mauled to death by two older bears in an abnormal altercation Tuesday afternoon at the Washington State University Bear Center, according to a news release from the university.
The release states the incident was the first time the bears had shown any violent aggression.
The two older bears attacked the younger bear at around 3:30 p.m. while they were out in the 2.2 acre fenced area at the center. Two other resident bears also were in the area.
WSU Bear Center Director Charles Robbins did not return a call made to his home before press time, but in the release he said the incident was a real tragedy.
“We don’t put bears together unless they show months, even years, of good behavior with each other,” he stated in the release.
According to the release, the WSU facility strives to let the bears out in the open as much as possible for them to develop normal foraging and social interactions. The three bears involved had been raised in side-by-side pens for at least two years.
It is unknown what will happen to the two older bears, and if staff attempted to tranquilize them during the attack.
Incidents such as this happen in the wild, where the older adults suddenly attack younger adult bears, according to the release.
The WSU Bear Center is the only facility in the world that houses adult grizzly bears for research, and scientists from different countries have come to WSU to study grizzly bears.
According to the release, the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International has recognized WSU and the center for meeting the highest possible animal care standards.