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Bear dines out in neighborhood

Posted: Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Tuesday's raid happened in broad daylight, and it wasn't the first bold adventure for this brazen bear.

"We saw it Sunday afternoon," Lisa Boman said of the bear that struck again Tuesday in the 9300 block of Lee Smith Drive. "He ran through our yard and jumped over our fence."

The bear crossed streets and put on a show Tuesday afternoon, knocking over trash containers. At one point it was seen munching on a diaper.

People in the neighborhood, tucked between the airport and Egan Drive, have reported numerous bear incidents in recent weeks. Other neighborhoods are reporting them too. Early Friday, police were called to a home in the 4400 block of Kanata Street in the Mendenhall Valley for a report of a bear inside a house.

Bears were reported to police Tuesday from Douglas Island to the Lemon Creek area to the valley and Auke Bay.

Neil Barten, biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said bears are fattening up before going into hibernation, and some are more comfortable around people than they might have been a few months ago.

Barking dogs don't bother them as much as they did in May, he explained. A garage might have seemed a scary place, but after perhaps finding garbage, dog food or a freezer inside, some bears have learned garages are worth the trouble.

The bear seen scavenging for garbage in the airport area Tuesday afternoon was tagged, Alaska State Trooper Glenn Knapp said while patrolling the area. That means it has been captured and relocated before, according to Barten.

The bear wasn't going to be taken easily Tuesday, Knapp said, explaining that it fled as authorities closed in. He said Fish and Game would try to trap it.

"As long as it's not doing anything to threaten anybody, we won't have to do anything drastic," Knapp said.

Boman said she worries for her safety when she has to leave home in the dark, unsure if a bear might be around the corner. But usually the bear is "kind of exciting."

She has a 14-year-old daughter who likes to watch the bear through the window, she said.

• Tony Carroll can be reached at tony.carroll@juneauempire.com.



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