They are still stuck on letting the population grow as much as possible rather than keeping the numbers stable to reduce bad interactions every year, but especially in bad years. Seeing 42 bears killed last year does not make me happy because we paid people to go out and do when many would be happy to do it for free...
Fish and Game reports far fewer bears killed in Anchorage this summer
By Taylor Clark | Posted: Mon 6:52 PM, Nov 04, 2019
ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - It is not uncommon at all for Anchorage residents to step outside their home to find a bear that has found its way off of the hillside and into an urban trash can. However, according to the Alaska Fish and Game Department, this past summer it was much more uncommon than it was in recent years.
According to new reports from Fish & Game, this past summer, only six bears had to be killed in Anchorage city limits. That’s a stark difference from 2018, when 42 had to be put down.
Cory Stantorf is the assistant area wildlife biologist for region 14-C for Fish & Game in Anchorage. He said he and other wildlife biologists do not have the perfect explanation for this change. However, he said they have a few ideas.
“It’s a combination of us having a good spring, so the green-up came early,” he said, “Over the last two years we’ve euthanized quite a few bears that have conflicted with humans so some of our conflict bears have been removed from the population.”
Of the six bears killed in the summer of 2019 in Anchorage, Stantorf said two of them were done by Fish and Game workers on a call for the bears.
Since spring came so early this year, Stantorf said more food was readily available to those bears close to town.
“If we get a good green-up, there’s food in the woods where they want to be, and we just don’t see them come into town,” he said.
Stantorf said while this data is interesting, it’s not quite indicative of a long-lasting change.
“You know, this year we had an early spring, next year we could have a late spring and we could go back to having conflicts,” he said.
The slow beginning of winter this year is also having an effect on the bears even right now. Stantorf said they are still getting reports of black and brown bear sightings in town even in early November.
Moving forward, Stantorf said wildlife biologists are going to continue studying the fluctuating numbers of nuisance bears being killed in town. While research takes place, he said there are ways to help keep those numbers down.“Killing bears isn’t the long term solution,” he said, “the long term solution is securing the trash, securing the attractant, and getting people to hand those attractions more responsibly.”