Bears Wander Towards Town for Some Grub

Cub in Kodiak Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. USFWS/Steve Hildebrand

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Bear sightings on the road system surged in number over the weekend.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game area wildlife biologist Nate Svoboda says on Monday he received reports of a sow and her two cubs at the Fishmeal plant and another of a single bear in the Otmeloi Way area.

“We haven’t really had much for sightings up until now. There was maybe five or six for the entire year. Up until this weekend – there was four. So, it’s not too surprising. We kind of anticipated this. It’s kind of a poor year for berry production, and so as you probably know that’s a common food source for bears. So, this food source is missing, and now they’re trying to find a way to supplement their diet.”

Which means bears will scavenge for trash in town.

Svoboda says people should set their garbage outside as close to pick-up time as possible and make it difficult for bears to snack on their chickens by installing electric fences around their coops.

He also says fishermen should observe proper protocol.

If a bear approaches them at a river and they have a fish on the line, they should throw the catch downstream instead of leaving it for the bear.

“If you provide that food resource to the bear, you’re essentially rewarding the bear for its poor behavior, and so every time a fishermen gives a bear their fish, the bears thinks, oh, this is a great thing to do to get a free meal.”

Svoboda says bears are likely to be an issue on the road system through the rest of the summer, especially as the fish population dwindles down.

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