Trap set for Bainbridge bear

A tasty trap has been set for a black bear that’s been visiting neighborhoods on Bainbridge Island.

The Bainbridge Island Police Department received multiple calls of a black bear wandering through neighborhoods on the island late last week.

The bear has been seen near homes across Bainbridge, and one resident captured the animal on camera after it took down a bird feeder on the homeowner’s deck on Friday, June 9.

Washington Department of Fish &Wildlife Officer Ken Balazs said three additional unconfirmed sightings have been reported in the past week.

“I plotted them on the map and it put the bear all over the island,” he said.

Finding the animal will be difficult, he added.

“It’s going to be a little like finding a needle in a haystack; it’s a pretty big island,” Balazs said.

Even so, Balazs said a trap has been set for the bear.

The trap, basically a piece of large-diameter culvert pipe with a trap door on one end, has been set up on the island in hopes of capturing the bear for an eventual relocation to the mountains.

Balazs said bait has been set in the trap — sugary doughnuts and pastries — because the bear is obviously on the hunt for food.

Authorities noted that the bear has not shown any aggressive behavior, but officials also warned that Bainbridge homeowners and walkers should stay alert and take steps to avoid inadvertently startling the bear if they see it.

Bears often avoid contact with humans and will leave an area if sound is heard or motion is detected. Automated lighting, sprinklers and sound-making devices can also be used to scare bears away from property and people.

Balazs said the bear is probably near homes looking for food in bird feeders or garbage cans.

Suet packs (used to feed wild birds) and pet food left outside can attract bears from several miles away. And Balazs said bears often scrounge for food around barbecues, as well.

Balazs said he’s heard the bear is the first one to be seen on the island in more than a decade.

It’s surprising, considering.

“Kitsap County has a huge bear population. I would speculate that this one swam across Agate Pass,” he said. “Just over on the Suquamish side, there’s a lot of bear activity. It’s highly likely that’s where the bear came from.”

Wildlife officials said residents can call the Department of Fish &Wildlife directly at 1-877-933-9847 to report sightings of the animal to help assist with tracking it.

And hopefully, the tempting diet of doughnuts will bring the bear in.

“Bears like a high-sugar, high-carbohydrate diet. That’s the most effective bait we use,” Balazs said.

If residents see the bear exhibit any dangerous or aggressive behavior, officials urge them to call 911.