JUNEAU - While bears can be active year-round, spring is the time of year when most bears are beginning to emerge from their dens throughout Alaska. In some areas around the state, bears have already been observed, a sign that more bears will soon be waking and out looking for food.
In an effort to promote responsible behavior in bear country, Gov. Sarah Palin, flyfishing guide Pudge Kleinkauf, musher Martin Buser, Alaskan humorist Mr. Whitekeys, homeowners and kids are lending their voices to help local bear committees across the state launch Alaska Bear Awareness Month.
Starting April 1, activists can be heard on radio or TV asking the community to help keep our neighborhoods safe and our bears wild.
To do its part, the public can take down bird feeders and cleaning up spilled birdseed by April 1 each year.
Keep garbage stored indoors until the morning of scheduled trash pick up or in a bear-resistant container. Store pet food indoors and bringing any unfinished food inside after you've fed pets. Use electric fencing to keep bears out of compost piles, corrals, chicken coops, beehives, rabbit hutches and other attractants. Properly secure and dispose of fish waste so you don't attract bears into your neighborhood.
Local community events and school programs are also focusing on bears throughout the month. The Alaska bear committees participating in this statewide effort represent concerned citizens, businesses, and agencies from Anchorage, Juneau, Sitka, Talkeetna, Kodiak, and the Kenai Peninsula. The governor has designated April as Alaska Bear Awareness Month to raise the awareness of residents on what they can do to minimize conflicts in neighborhoods and to encourage respect of our highly valued wildlife resources.
"Kodiak bears are a symbol of the spirit of our island and an important economic resource," said Larry Van Daele, of the Kodiak Unified Bear Subcommittee, "And we are excited to join in this statewide effort to raise awareness and respect for these magnificent creatures."
"Through our collective and diverse efforts, we want to inspire people do the right thing and learn to be more responsible while living and visiting bear country," said Bobbie Jo Skibo, Kenai Brown Bear Committee. "We take pride in our wild bears and want others to do the same."
For more information on events, contact Maria Gladziszewski, of the Juneau Bear Group, at 586-0218. For more on "Bear Awareness" go to: www.alaskabears.alaska.gov.