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Urban bears active in Juneau
Published: 09/20/2012 19:42:00
As we head into fall, bears are once again making their way into town looking for food. The latest incident happened yesterday and was caught on camera by local filmmaker Pat Race.

Lieutenant David Campbell of the Juneau Police Department gave us the story: "When we got the call at about 11:25 in the morning that there was a fairly large black bear that was walking down the main thoroughfare of town. And we were told that the bear was not acting aggressively but there was a lot of tourists that where starting to follow the bear. So the patrol officers in the area, we had 2 of them, showed up and just made sure that the crowd kept their distance back and that there was no threat; either to the bear or to the crowd. The bear that we were dealing with yesterday is a bear that we've had several encounters with, so we called the [State of Alaska] Fish & Game biologist who came out and then his discretion was ultimately to tranquilize the bear, and then the bear had to be euthanized. So it's really sad when it gets to the point that a bear becomes habituated to people and they lose their fear, and that's when something really tragic can happen for the bear or for a person."

The reason bears are attracted into town is more often than not, human carelessness which can make for an easy meal.

"The 2 times that we really see a lot of bear activity is in the spring and in the fall. The spring is when they're waking up and they're just starting to become active and they're hungry and there's not a lot of food available, and then in the fall it becomes more prevalent when the bears are trying to fatten up. And the garbage is a very easy target with a very high calorie rich meal. So once bears start eating trash, sometimes they'll get to the point where they don't eat their normal food because it's just too easy for them" said Campbell.

Juneau city ordinance requires all garbage to remain secured in bear a proof enclosure or container until 4am on pickup day reminds Campbell: "We do live in bear country, so there are going to be bears in the area. If the bear is just going about its own business and is not a threat to either a person or property; then our policy is to just leave the bear alone. So there's no need to call the police if you just happen to see a bear, the time to call would be if the bear is acting aggressive, or if it's getting into trash or somehow affecting a person's property."

The full video of the bear can be viewed at the Alaska Robotics website at the link below.

http://alaskarobotics.com/

By: Mikko Wilson - mikko@kath.tv