KENAI, Alaska (AP) — Kenai National Wildlife refuge officials have ordered an emergency closure of sport hunting of brown bears, saying that more than 10 percent of the bears on the Peninsula have already died this season.

The Peninsula Clarion reports that the closure went into effect Saturday.

The order says that 66 bears have been killed by hunters or through other human-caused means this season meaning more than 10% of the estimated 624 bears on the Kenai Peninsula have been killed.

Refuge manager Steve Miller says that rate of deaths is unsustainable.

Miller says the high harvest of brown bears was due in part to a recent decision by Alaska's Board of Game which liberalized the hunting methods. The hunt was switched from a draw to registration.


Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion,