By Adrienne Moore

ALPINE COUNTY (CBS13) — A problem bear with an even more problematic appetite was shot dead. A family camping in Alpine County killed the 500-pound black bear nicknamed the “Safeway Bear.”

Wildlife officials say the shooting was justified. Experts say a fed bear is a dead bear.

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And this particular animal had a long history of ransacking stores and scarfing down everything in sight, which they say is what ultimately led to this tragic ending.

The Safeway Bear, or “Kings Beach Bear,” was known as one ravenous customer whose adventurous appetite and wild encounters were well documented with the Bear League’s Ann Bryant.

“I knew when he was gathered up and taken away he was not going to survive,” Bryant said.

Public safety concerns forced the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to capture the male bear last fall, and they fastened him with a GPS tracking collar before releasing him into a remote part of El Dorado County.

But by spring, that collar fell off.

“The best outcome would have been to leave him alone,” Bryant said.

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But the curious carnivore was starving and returned to what he knew.

“The problem is when they become accustomed to human food—trash, birdseed, you know, whatever—that’s all they know how to do,”

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says the roughly 15-year-old bear was shot and killed in a campsite confrontation in Alpine County.

A family with small children had tried to shoo the bear away several times and feared for their safety.

Officials called the shooting “justified” describing the bear as “emaciated” with “rotten teeth.”

It was a tragic end for a bold bear that advocates want the community to learn from.

“You don’t feed the bears! Wherever you are, you don’t teach the bears they can come up to people and ask for food. Because this is what happens.”

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Fish and Wildlife says the family’s food and trash had been properly stored and secured at the campsite at the time of the shooting.

Adrienne Moore