There’s been a couple bears lingering around town these days but Alaska Fish and Game is warning residents about one in particular. Nathan Svoboda is the Kodiak area wildlife biologist and said there is a potentially wounded bear roaming around the Spruce Cape and Woodland Acres area. On Monday night Svoboda said the bear made its way into a chicken coop and one of the homeowners in the area shot at it.
“The bear ran off, came back a little while later, was found in the chicken coop again, and shot at or shot again. We’re pretty sure it was hit at least once.”
He said the bear then ran off, and as of Tuesday afternoon still hadn’t been found, despite numerous searches by both fish and game and Alaska wildlife troopers throughout the day.
“We did find a blood trail. We followed that for a while but we lost the trail. It either stopped bleeding or just got covered up due to the rain.”
Svoboda said the bear is likely still in the area and folks need to be cautious, report any sightings and make sure they are taking appropriate measures with their food and trash.
“As you can imagine with reduced amount of natural foods available they’re drug into town and looking for garbage is a big thing. So if we can encourage folks to store their garbage inside their garage or inside their house until the day of the scheduled pick up that’s really beneficial. Another thing that really brings the bears in is chicken coops and domestic livestock. So we’re encouraging people to install electric fences to keep bears out of their gardens and their chicken coops and their compost piles and generally just away from domestic animals.”
He said folks should also be storing the food for those domestic animals inside, and taking down bird feeders since there are a lot of natural food sources for birds these days and the feeders can sometimes attract hungry bears.
As for the wounded bear still at large, Svoboda said it’s likely it will be put down if it’s found, mainly because it has become an ongoing problem.
“We did haze it a couple times, it’s had some cracker shells shot at it. It’s also been shot with rubber pellets. But unfortunately due to the large number of chicken coops and garbage cans that aren’t protected this bear is getting pretty used to getting food from those areas and so it’s really getting conditioned to the point that it’s not taking off when it’s hazed. And so that’s unfortunate, and when that happens then occasionally the only option is to put the animal down.”
However, he said they’ll have to assess the situation once the bear is found and make the ultimate decision then.
Folks who might have seen this bear, or any bear in residential areas for that matter, should report the sighting to the Alaska State Troopers, Kodiak Police Department or Fish and Game.