JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — A local man who took a bear cub from the wild before it was put down will not face any charges.
The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office said on the morning of April 7, a bear cub was reportedly seen on Highway 66 near Ashland. An Oregon State Police trooper searched the area but was unable to find the cub.
A few hours after the initial report, volunteer Fire Chief of Greensprings Fire Department Gene Davies called police, saying he had the cub in his possession.
According to the D.A.’s office, Davies said he heard the bear had been in the area for the past few days. He explained he lured the bear up to a logging road where it laid down to take a nap. At that point, Davies reportedly leashed the bear and took it back to his home in a dog crate.
When an OSP trooper spoke to Davies, he was directed to take the bear to the area he found it and release it. Prosecutors said Davies explained he already made arrangements to take the cub, which was reportedly emaciated and not afraid of people, to Wildlife Images Rehabilitation and Education Center. The D.A’s office said the trooper told Davies his plan wasn’t possible and told him again to return the bear to the wild.
The trooper reportedly forwarded Davies’ contact information to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, who told Davies to release the bear.
By the next day, Davies still planned to take the bear to the wildlife rehabilitation facility.
The D.A.’s office said at that point, a trooper came to get the bear. It was transferred to ODFW and subsequently euthanized after consultations were made with experts.
The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office explained while, technically, Davies did violate the law, the statute prohibits people from holding wildlife as pets or for personal gain. “In this case,” the district attorney’s office said, “it is clear that Mr. Davies was not acting with malicious intent, but rather was trying to protect the bear.”
Davies will not face any criminal charges.
Prosecutors explained, “Citizens should know that taking wildlife from its habitat is dangerous, both for the person and for the wildlife. When wildlife is taken from a natural habitat, even if only for a brief time, the animal will become habituated to humans, and will likely never be able to be released back into the wild safely.”
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