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Scientists Kill Three Bears With Tranquilizers

April 15, 1986

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ Three polar bears died after being shot with tranquilizer darts by biologists trying to count Alaska’s polar bear population, a U.S. Fish and Wildife Service spokesman says.

A male bear died April 6 on the Beaufort Sea pack ice after it passed out in a position that put pressure on its windpipe, spokesman George Sura said Monday. Two females in poor health died of cardiac arrest the next day 42 miles northeast of Barrow.

Ten bears have been killed since 1983 in the wildlife service’s survey of polar bear population, Sura said. The project has tagged about 500 of Alaska’s estimated 5,000 polar bears.

″In any project where animals must be handled, the possibility of capture- related mortality cannot be eliminated,″ he said. ″It happens when you’re working under rigorous, difficult conditions.″

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