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Wildlife Roundup: Local black bear activity on the decline ... for now anyway

Posted: July 19, 2013 - 12:02am

Welcome to the 2013 Juneau area Wildlife Roundup. The intent of this column is to provide Juneau residents updates on wildlife activity in the Juneau area and general interest wildlife information.

Black bear activity is being reported in several areas of Juneau but did decline over the week.

The majority of calls came from:

• Glacier Highway between the Highlands and Norway Point

• Twin Lakes

• Auke Bay between Deharts and the ferry terminal

• Tee Harbor Area

Many of the calls ADF&G is receiving concern juvenile, or yearling, black bears. Within the last few weeks female bears have been separating themselves from 1.5-yea- old, or older, cubs in preparation for breeding. Young bears can be all or partly curious, pushy and mischievous; they are learning the rules of being a bear in an urban environment. This does not excuse negative bear behavior, but it does provide a reference for why some of these youngsters are doing the things they are.

Now is an excellent time to double-check that all attractants are removed from homes, businesses and garbage cans, and that dumpsters are functioning properly; with both adult and juvenile bears moving around Juneau we all need to make sure we don’t create problems.

Keep in mind that the new garbage cans, fielded last summer, are not bear resistant and must be stored in a garage, shed, or some other stout enclosure, and only removed on the day of pick up. Chicken coops should be protected by an electric fence.

Black bears and Sitka black-tailed deer are routinely seen feeding along local roads. Earlier in the summer, the department received several calls concerning traffic congestion because of people viewing bears. There have been few deer reports recently and these animals, along with the bears, will likely be moving into timbered areas in the near future in search of other food sources. Please do not stop along side of feeding bears and wildlife and do not loiter in the area. This can create an unsafe traffic situation, and may alarm the animal which may move or run into traffic. It is appropriate to view wildlife along the roads only when there is an area where vehicles can be parked off the road, and viewing can be accomplished from a distance that will not harass the animals.

• Ryan Scott is a Wildlife Biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. For additional information, please contact the Douglas Area wildlife Office at 465-4265.

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