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Moose calves bring bear peace

Bruins’ attention turns to natural food source, but garbage still tempting

Posted: Friday, June 08, 2007

The arrival of moose calves typically means a decrease in nuisance bear activity, and this year is no exception.

“It’s been relatively quite,” said Jeff Selinger, area wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game,

“There’s always a burst of activity early in the year, then it quiets down a bit as the moose calves start dropping,” he said.

While brown bears are omnivores that eat a wide variety of food, Selinger said newborn calves are often consumed when available, and late Wednesday evening he responded to a call of a brown bear eating a calf off of Float Plane Road behind the Woodland subdivision in Kenai.

“We went out and got a visual on it. It was a three- to four-year-old brown bear eating a moose calf, but it quickly moved off into the woods,” he said.

Selinger said Kenai, as a recognized Wildlife Conservation Community, gets immediate response to all nuisance bear calls. He stayed in the area for several hours to ensure the bear did not return then drove through the nearby Woodland subdivision, where he said he found a minimal number of bear attractants.

“There were a few open (garbage) containers, but overall it looked pretty good,” he said.

Although bears are starting to feed naturally, this doesn’t mean people should be any less careful with attractants.

“They’re still looking for the easiest meals,” he said.

Selinger said he dealt with several nuisance bear calls in the Raspberry Street area last week. The callers said they feared for the safety of their children, and when he responded he found numerous attractants.

“For some people it just doesn’t sink in that to keep kids safe, they need to stay vigilant with not leaving out garbage, and making sure neighbors aren’t leaving out garbage,” he said.

Bear-resistant garbage containers are available to Kenai residents for $50. For more information, contact Fish and Game, Alaska Waste or Industrial Refuse Inc.

Also this week, Alicia Borrayo of Kenai reported that an injured brown bear with two cubs was seen in the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area between Engineer Lake and Lower Skilak Lake.

“She looked wounded, like someone had shot her in the leg or something like that,” she said.

Selinger said people recreating around Skilak Lake Loop Road should exercise caution.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at joseph.robertia@peninsulaclarion.com.



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