Wildlife officials seek new garbage cans after bear deaths

SEATTLE (AP) — State wildlife officials are asking for cities in Washington to transition to bear-proof garbage cans as more bears are dying in communities along Interstate 90.

KOMO-TV reports that research from an ongoing Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife study shows bears in communities like Issaquah, North Bend and Snoqualmie are sometimes twice their average weight and are dying early.

Department bear specialist Rich Beausoleil says bird feeders and trash are attracting bears into the communities southeast of Seattle where they’re sometimes hit by cars or shot when confronted by homeowners.

Beausoleil says that bears that stay in the woods have about an 85 percent chance of survival. Bears that wander into residential areas to get food have about 59 percent chance of survival.