The Alaska Department of Fish & Game (F&G) says to “Clean Up Your Act Now” to prevent bear issues this summer and ramp up your bear etiquette. As the snow melts bears are starting to stir and Alaskans need to clean up food around the home that attract bears.
“I would suggest people start their spring cleaning now,” said Anchorage Area Wildlife Biologist Dave Battle. “If we keep bears out of human-provided food sources now, keep them from developing bad habits early on, we can prevent a lot of problems later on for people and bears alike.”
According to F&G, early in the season natural foods can be scarce and bear can turn to human-provided attractions. Food scarcity can make human-provided attractants particularly inviting to waking bears.
To prevent bear problems this summer, biologists suggest the following:
•Garbage - Store trash inside buildings or in bear-resistant containers; keep secured until the day of scheduled pickup. Encourage neighbors to do the same.
•Electric fences – Properly constructed electric fences designed to exclude bears can keep bears out of gardens, compost, and away from buildings, chicken coops, and domestic animals. For more information, contact your local department office or online at www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=livingwithbears.bearfences.
Barbecues - Clean barbecue grills, especially grease traps, after each use.
Pets - Feed pets indoors or clean up excess and spilled food between meals. Store pet food, livestock food, and birdseed indoors or in bear-resistant containers.
Bird Feeders – Take feeders down April through October, store securely and remove spilled seed.
Freezers - Keep freezers locked in a secure building or otherwise inaccessible to bears.
Gardens - Plant gardens in the open, away from cover and game trails. Only compost raw vegetable matter and turn over compost frequently.
Feeding bears, even unintendedly can bring a fine F&G said in a press release.
People are encouraged to report bears frequenting neighborhoods or other populated areas, bears getting into trash, or bears showing signs of aggression to the local Fish & Game office. The Seward office can be contacted at (907) 262-9368. Reports can also be made online at https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index .cfm?adfg=reportwildlifeen counter.main. If the situation involves an immediate public safety concern, call 911.
“So many situations go unreported, or we hear rumors days later via social media,” said Battle. “We want to know any time brown bears are seen in town or populated areas, and people should let us know whenever they see black or brown bears in trash or feeding on human provided food.”
To learn more about coexisting with bears, call or visit your local department office or online at www.alaskabears.alaska.gov.