ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Snow is disappearing, birch trees are budding and the bears are back.
Wildlife biologists say both black bears and brown bears have been spotted in the foothills and the woods in and around Anchorage.
''If we're seeing black bear females with cubs walking around, that's a pretty good indication that most of the bears are up,'' said state biologist Rick Sinnott. ''They're usually the last ones up.''
An estimated 30 to 40 black bears and a dozen brown bears live in the Anchorage bowl. Within the past few weeks they've been spotted near Tudor Road and at a trailer park in Muldoon.
Outside Anchorage, hikers have seen bruin prints in the mud near McHugh Creek. A black bear was meandering in the woods near the Turnagain Arm Trail in Chugach State Park, according to superintendent Al Meiners.
''I would suspect that they're starting to move around in Eagle River as well,'' Meiners said.
State wildlife technician Larry Lewis said there have been many reports of bear sightings on the Kenai Peninsula.
''They're concentrated on the river system. They're out scavenging where the groceries are,'' Lewis said.
Biologists say that, with bears up and awake, people should practice bear-sensitive behavior. That means stowing food sources like garbage and dog food. Hikers should make noise and be alert.
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