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Black bear spotted near the north end
A former Islander who is visiting Vashon says she saw a bear near the north end last weekend.
Wildlife officials say they've had no other reports of bears on Vashon this summer.
Tressa Azpiri, who grew up on Vashon and operated a popular preschool until moving in 2006, said she was walking on Glen Acres Road on Sunday when she heard a loud noise in the woods and then spotted a small black bear in a standoff with a couple raccoons not far off the road.
“It was not a dog, it was not a horse, it was a black bear,” Azpiri said, adding that she believes the animal weighed 250 to 300 pounds.
Mike Krenz, an officer with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the state agency hasn't gotten any reports of bears on Vashon this summer. However, he said, its not uncommon for bears to swim to Vashon from the Kitsap Peninsula during low tides. The bear population on the peninsula, he said, has skyrocketed in recent years because of new laws that have taken away some of WDFW's tools for bear management.
T Yamamoto, director of Wolftown, also wasn't surprised to hear the report. Bears come to Vashon every summer, she said, to find new territory and feed on the Island's abundant berry harvest.
“It's usually just one or two. It's not a big deal,” she said. “They usually stay until the berries are done.”
She said a bear should pose no danger as long as Islanders take common sense measures such as securing their garbage cans and keeping dogs on leashes when walking in the woods.
As for Azpiri, she says the sighting was as a special moment. Azpiri, who now lives in Jamaica, is visiting Vashon to attend a funeral for her brother, Paul Aspiri.
She and her brother both loved the outdoors, she said, and the bear was one of Paul's totem animals.
“When I saw the bear, it felt like a gift from my brother,” she said.
Bear sightings can be reported to Wolftown at 463-9113.