Bear heads from Whidbey to Fidalgo

Bear heads from Whidbey to Fidalgo

The local island-hopping black bear has made another swim.

Reported sightings of the lumbering loner have tracked his movements from Central Whidbey north along the west side of the island late last week, according to Ralph Downes, a Department of Fish and Wildlife animal enforcement officer.

The bear likely then swam across the water east of Cornet Bay, Downes said, and landed on Fidalgo.

On Monday morning, the animal was seen near the Anacortes Airport.

“He’s made one heck of a loop,” Downes said.

The young bear, which the animal enforcement officer estimates to be around 4 years old and 400 pounds, was first seen in an unusual spot April 25 on Camano Island. The next week, he’d apparently made the swim and was caught stealing some bird feed at a Coupeville couple’s home.

The sighting marked the first confirmed bear appearance on Whidbey in decades, Downes said.

Though he’s covered a vast territory, the restless teen-aged creature has made little contact with humans, Downes said.

“He’s not a huge fan of cars or of barking dogs,” he said.

Apparently, some loud dogs on North Whidbey caused Mr. Bear to “go from a walk to a trot,” he said.

There hasn’t been any mischief reported in his wake, other than some mangled bird feeders.

Since the bear’s appearance on Whidbey, the name “Ebey” has a narrow lead over “Paddington” — Paddy for short — in an online Whidbey News-Times poll.

There have also been multiple write-in nominations for “Beary McBearFace.”

McBearFace is exhibiting behavior that’s fairly common for a young male, although his specific trajectory is what makes the journey more unique, Downes said. Young adult bears more commonly explore outside forested areas.

“He’s just trying to find his place,” he said.

Downes presumes McBearFace is trying to loop his way back to where he came from — back into “bear country.”

“My hope is that people just let it keeping moving, and let it get back to where it belongs,” he said.

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