Garbage if fatal attraction for bears on the Kenai Peninsula

Garbage if fatal attraction for bears on the Kenai Peninsula

KENAI-In July, a brown bear that had been eating discarded fish carcasses and garbage in a Kenai subdivision was shot and killed. In Department of Fish and Game jargon, this was a “DLP”-a bear killed in defense of life and property.

Again, wildlife biologists warned residents not to feed wild animals.

State wildlife biologist Larry Lewis said the sow grizzly began hanging around the outskirts of Kenai in late summer of last year.

“It progressively got worse, the more garbage it got into,” he said. “It was getting into garbage all the time. The more that happened, the more it became aggressive and a problem.”

To make matters worse, the bear bore two cubs last year. A sow with cubs isn’t something you want in your yard, Lewis said.

The bears got into garbage at a house last Halloween, and the homeowner said one of them tried to push his door open. These bears had become a public safety issue.

Lewis didn’t want to kill the bears, so he captured them and moved them to the Mystery Creek area. He radio-collared the sow, which denned with its cubs at Point Possession, more than 40 miles from where Lewis had trapped them in Kenai.

In late July, the sow was shot while chasing a dog near Nikiski. The dog had been barking at the bear and running toward it, provoking a charge.

“The dog turned tail and headed right for its owner,” Lewis said. “The guy said there was no doubt in his mind that if he hadn’t shot the bear, it would’ve bitten him.”

The man said he looked for cubs but did not find any.

Lewis said every time he gets a call about a bear, he has to tell people to keep their pet food and garbage cans inside.

“They wait until a bear gets into it, but then it’s too late,” he said.

Copyright Morris Communications Nov 2002

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.