Anchorage approves hiring bear officer

Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2009

ANCHORAGE - Anchorage is getting a seasonal bear cop.

The Assembly passed a resolution Tuesday night to allow the city to contract a wildlife safety specialist to track bears "take appropriate action" against any that threaten public safety.

The idea was prompted by a high number of local bear attacks and encounters last summer.

Assemblyman Bill Starr, who sponsored the resolution, says the Department of Fish and Game is primarily focused on managing wildlife. He said the city needs to focus on protecting residents.

The resolution passed following amendments that removed language asking the state Board of Game to authorize increased hunting in select areas. Language authorizing the specialist to relocate and destroy problem bears also was removed.

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