green. It's May. And Anchorage bears are prowling.
brown bear sow with two small cubs has been reported meandering
across Far North Bicentennial Park, with sightings near
the new baseball fields off Abbott Loop on Thursday and
by Service High School late Thursday night.
resident Chris Sheldon was driving home about midnight when
he spied the three animals running along Abbott Road beneath
a street light.
hooked a left right into somebody's driveway," said
Sheldon, who slowed down for a peek before moving on. The
cubs "were brand new this year, and she was very agitated.
She was ready for a fight ... rolling from one of her four
feet to the others."
than a day earlier, a black bear tore into garbage left
outside a home in a neighborhood off Dowling Road just west
of the park, prompting state biologists to issue the first
$110 ticket of the season.
with reports last week of a brown bear nosing through Eagle
River garbage -- later running into the woods with an empty
can in its mouth -- state biologist Rick Sinnott says it's
past time for people to secure trash, stow bird feeders
and start paying attention on the trails.
and Abbott Loop Road residents should be very careful with
garbage, bird seed and pet foods," Sinnott said in
an e-mail message. "People who use Bicentennial Park
and Campbell Tract should be especially cautious this summer
and make noise or travel in groups to avoid surprising the
sow at close range."
law prohibits careless feeding of bears, moose, wolves,
coyotes, foxes or wolverines. Homeowners who leave out garbage
that attracts bears could be fined $110.
several citations were issued last year to people in Eagle
River, the citation issued Thursday to a Doil Drive resident
was the first given in the Anchorage Bowl, said assistant
area biologist Jessy Coltrane, with the Alaska Department
of Fish and Game.
more soon, she said.
entire street is an accident waiting to happen," Coltrane
said. "They've had bear problems there in the past,
and there were bears in the garbage there all last summer."
responding to complaints, on Thursday Coltrane and Sinnott
found that a bear had ripped open garbage bags stored on
a back porch the night before, leaving prints in the mud
and hair in the yard.
bear hasn't shown any aggression toward people as far as
we know, but any time you bait a bear into a neighborhood,
or give a bear a reason to stay in a neighborhood, the chance
of a surprise encounter increases dramatically," Coltrane
Deatherage, of Defenders of Wildlife in Anchorage, said
she planned to distribute notices and door hangers in the
neighborhood to encourage people to be more careful with
said the biologists would continue to monitor reports of
the brown bear sow. An estimated 50 to 60 black bears and
a dozen brown bears have territories that overlap residential
areas in Anchorage and are always around during summer,
whether seen by people or not.
sow has so far avoided garbage and stayed out of trouble,
and Sinnott said he expects the bear will eventually fade
into the mountains with her cubs. But he will haze the animal
if it hangs around near houses or schools.
speculated that the sow might be looking for newborn moose
calves. He urged people to report moose kills near trails
or houses to Fish and Game.
try to move these moose so that the bear won't stick around
and defend the carcass," he said.
News reporter Doug O'Harra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org