Bears in Southeast Alaska are waking up.
Ryan Scott, Area Biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Division of Wildlife Conservation, said he’s received about five to seven calls about waking bears Juneau—something he says is normal for the season.
Black bears, or their sign, have been spotted in the highlands area above Juneau-Douglas High School, at Twin Lakes, Lemon Creek, the Mendenhall Valley, and North Douglas, among other places outside Juneau.
Brown bears have been spotted in Yakutat and Haines.
“By mid-May to the third week of May, the lions share of local bears have emerged,” he said. “Bear season is here. The bears have started to come out, and they’re going to keep coming out.”
To keep bears wild and neighborhoods safe, biologists recommend taking down bird feeders and placing trash, livestock feed and pet foods indoors or in bear-resistant containers.
Here are some tips to remember as bears wake up and become active:
• Garbage - Store trash inside buildings or in bear-proof containers; keep secured until the day of scheduled pickup. Encourage neighbors to do the same.
• Electric fences - Electric fences can keep bears out of gardens, compost, and away from buildings, chicken coops, and domestic animals. For more information, contact your area department office or the visit the department webpage 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 out of bears’ reach and remove spilled seeds.
• Freezers - Keep freezers locked in a secure building or otherwise out of bears’ reach.
• Gardens - Plant gardens in the open, away from cover and game trails. Only compost raw vegetable matter and turn over compost frequently.
For more information about coexisting with bears, visit www.alaskabears.alaska.gov.