Newborn moose siblings butt heads in the grass alongside the Unity Trail in Kenai Wednesday morning. The feisty pair took turns chasing each other as their mother browsed nearby.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
A string of chicken killings allegedly caused by a sow and her cubs between Soldotna and Kasilof caused Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials to warn people about wildlife safety in the spring.
Jeff Selinger, Kenai area wildlife biologist for Fish and Game, said three chicken coops were raided in the area Monday and Tuesday.
"It sounds like the same group of bears," Selinger said.
Selinger said Kenai Peninsula residents need to be cautious around bears and moose at all times, but especially right now. In the spring, bears are particularly hungry, he said.
"They're emerging from the den and haven't eaten in six months," he said.
People also should be aware that moose are starting to drop their calves, Selinger said, adding the first report of calves happened Tuesday. He expects the peak of calving to happen next week.
Sometimes, calves get separated or abandoned from their mothers, and Selinger said it is important to leave them alone. Acknowledging that this can be a heartbreaking sight, he said there are few places that will take care of calves.
"The best thing to do is leave it alone," he said.
Last year, area residents reported several incidents involving bears attacking the moose calves.
Kasilof resident Tammy Westover said she discovered a sow and cubs in her yard Tuesday evening after hearing her dogs barking at something, although they did no damage on her property.
After talking with her neighbors, she said they suspected these are the same bears that raided the chicken coops.
"I could have gotten out and kissed them on the nose," she said. "I didn't know what they were going to do with my dogs."
She said she started making noise to scare the bears away and then called Alaska State Troopers and the Fish and Game.
Aside from garbage, Selinger said chickens, ducks and rabbits are the largest attractors of bears. These incidents are a reminder that people can secure their chicken coops with an electric fence.
Selinger said the fence around the place where chickens or rabbits are kept is an easy way to keep bears out.
He said the electric wire should go around the outside of a fence or some type of visible barrier. This prevents bears from storming through electric wire.
He said to start the fence 1 foot off the ground, stacking four or five strands of wire 1 foot apart.
"Bears hate getting shocked," he said.
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