Bears are waking up around Juneau

A black bear in a tree in Mendenhall Valley last summer.

A black bear in a tree in Mendenhall Valley last summer. (Photo by Heather Bryant)

It’s that time of year again. Juneau Police report two dumpsters downtown apparently rifled by a bear or bears in the past week.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist Ryan Scott says he’s not surprised. Reports of bear activity in the Capital City have been on the rise for about a month.

Scott says that means it’s time to start securing your trash and cleaning up anything that might attract bears to your neighborhood.

“When I say secure I mean, you have to recognize, our current garbage cans for the most part are not bear proof or resistant, the new ones that were fielded last year,” Scott says. “Those need to be in a secure spot, meaning a garage or a stout shed or something like that that bears can’t get into them. I just can’t stress how powerful even a small bear is, and they’ll take advantage of any weakness in these systems.”

Scott also says it’s time to put away bird feeders for the spring and summer.

He says anytime a bear becomes habituated to a food source in an urban area, not only does it put people in danger, but it puts the bear at risk of being euthanized.

“It’s an opportunity to keep people and bears safe,” he says. “And I say it all the time, we live in a place that grows black bears pretty well. Not only downtown, we’ve gotten calls about bears on Douglas, in the Valley. So, it’s just a very normal progression of spring. It gets warmer, and things start to grow, and the bears show up.”

The CBJ bear ordinance requires residents to secure trash containers, except on garbage day from 4:30 a.m. until a reasonable time after pickup. Residents who repeatedly violate the ordinance can be fined.

Recent headlines

  • Arctic Chinook exercise concludes

    Coast Guard wraps up Arctic exercises

    The series of simulated drills was known as the Arctic Chinook exercise and wrapped Thursday morning in Kotzebue, according to a Coast Guard press release.
  • Bacteria that causes botulism.

    Science and cooking collide to fight botulism

    Scientists are trying to learn how to prevent botulism in seal oil, a main ingredient in many traditional Alaska Native foods.
  • Earthquake Simulator

    Earthquake simulator will shake up Juneau

    Alaska's earthquake simulator will visit Wednesday, Aug. 31, to Thursday, Sept. 1, in downtown Juneau giving residents some emergency preparedness practice at an event that promises to shake, rattle and roll.
  • Dan DeBartolo is one of four candidates running for the Juneau School Board. (Courtesy of Dan DeBartolo)

    School board candidate juggles race and Facebook

    The creator of the Facebook page the Juneau Community Collective is running for public office and that created a problem. He had to figure out how to continue moderating political comments on the page without falling into a conflict of interest.

Comments

Playing Now: