Friendly black bear's fate put off until next week - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Friendly black bear's fate put off until next week

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RHINELANDER, WI (WAOW) - -

What's going to happen with a bear that got friendly with traffic on state Highway 17 near Gleason in northern Wisconsin in December has been put off until next week, the owner of a wildlife sanctuary said Wednesday.

Mark Naniot of Wild Instincts said he did not know what the state Department of Natural Resources intends to do with the female bear but he doubted she would be euthanized, given the publicity about her plight.

"We expect to hear something next week," he said.

The two-year-old bear was on her hind legs and peeking into passing cars before being tranquilized and brought to the sanctuary for the winter. Wild Instincts needs a decision on the bear - and expected it Wednesday - because it needs space for bear cubs this spring, Naniot said.

Naniot has said the bear is exhibiting more normal behavior at the sanctuary but it would still be risky releasing the animal back into the wild, given its earlier encounters with people.

That leaves two options for the DNR: finding a permanent home other than a "roadside zoo" or euthanizing the bear, he said.

"I really have no idea what they are going to decide to do," Naniot said.

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