Bears in Anchorage, Alaska

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Bear print in the driveway of a home in Anchorage, Alaska

There are many grizzly and black bears in Anchorage, Alaska.


Bear population

There are between 200 and 300 black bears living in the city, according to a rough estimate given by State of Alaska wildlife biologist Rick Sinnott.[1] DNA studies based on collected hair samples have shown that the city is also home to at least 36 grizzly bears.[1] (That figure, however, is an underestimate: hair was collected from only four of eleven grizzly bears that had been radio-collared in a separate study.[1]) Anecdotal accounts suggest that bear sightings are increasing in frequency, but biologists are skeptical that this increase in observations is indicative of a population increase.[1]

Spawning salmon in Campbell Creek attract many bears to the city from the Chugach Mountains.[1]

Human–bear encounters and management issues

Though bear populations may not be increasing, human–bear encounters are on the rise.[1] As Anchorage's population has increased and urbanization has removed forest, bears have become easier to spot.[1]

In the late 1990s, Anchorage residents responding to a survey indicated that they wanted more animals, including bears, in the city.[1] It is unclear whether attitudes have remained the same, with some people growing uncomfortable with increasing bear encounters.[1]

Recent laws have made it illegal to put out garbage before the morning of trash day,[citation needed] and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has lobbied the city to enforce the law by ticketing.[1] The ADFG has also undertaken a bear education campaign, including sending employees door to door to discourage Anchorage residents from leaving food and garbage out.[1]

In 1995, two runners were killed by a bear just south of the city on the McHugh Creek trail.[2] Two maulings in July and August 2008 were the first maulings in the city proper in modern times.[2]

See also


Further reading