Photos: Northwest Alaska bear break-ins

Plywood covers recent damage following a bear break-in viewed Tuesday, August 19, 2014, in the Cape Krusenstern area of Northwest Alaska. Alex Whiting, environmental protection specialist with the Native Village of Kotzebue, said a trip last week along the coast from Sealing Point to Sheshalik found every single cabin raided by bears along 50 miles of coastline. From Selawik to Sheshalik, to Noorvik, Kiana and Ambler, residents are reporting their remote cabins raided by roaming brown bears.
Alex Whiting / Native Village of Kotzebue
Kris Rose shows what is left after a bear dined on Spam and Tums at a camp in Northwest Alaska.
Robin Gage
A wall was destroyed by a bear intent on dining on Spam and Tums at a camp in Northwest Alaska.
Robin Gage
A door is torn from its hinges at a ranger station cabin following a bear break-in as seen Tuesday, August 19, 2014, in the Cape Krusenstern area of Northwest Alaska. Alex Whiting, environmental protection specialist with the Native Village of Kotzebue, said a trip last week along the coast from Sealing Point to Sheshalik found every single cabin raided by bears along 50 miles of coastline. From Selawik to Sheshalik, to Noorvik, Kiana and Ambler, residents are reporting their remote cabins raided by roaming brown bears.
Alex Whiting / Native Village of Kotzebue
Brown bear tracks seen Tuesday, August 19, 2014, identify a culprit following recent bear break-ins in the Cape Krusenstern area of Northwest Alaska. Alex Whiting, environmental protection specialist with the Native Village of Kotzebue, said a trip last week along the coast from Sealing Point to Sheshalik found every single cabin raided by bears along 50 miles of coastline. From Selawik to Sheshalik, to Noorvik, Kiana and Ambler, residents are reporting their remote cabins raided by roaming brown bears.
Alex Whiting / Native Village of Kotzebue
Broken windows are covered following a bear break-in as seen Tuesday, August 19, 2014, in the Cape Krusenstern area of Northwest Alaska. Alex Whiting, environmental protection specialist with the Native Village of Kotzebue, said a trip last week along the coast from Sealing Point to Sheshalik found every single cabin raided by bears along 50 miles of coastline. From Selawik to Sheshalik, to Noorvik, Kiana and Ambler, residents are reporting their remote cabins raided by roaming brown bears.
Alex Whiting / Native Village of Kotzebue
Paw marks serve as evidence of an attempted bear break-in as viewed Tuesday, August 19, 2014, in the Cape Krusenstern area of Northwest Alaska. Alex Whiting, environmental protection specialist with the Native Village of Kotzebue, said a trip last week along the coast from Sealing Point to Sheshalik found every single cabin raided by bears along 50 miles of coastline. From Selawik to Sheshalik, to Noorvik, Kiana and Ambler, residents are reporting their remote cabins raided by roaming brown bears.
Alex Whiting / Native Village of Kotzebue
Suzanna Caldwell

From Selawik to Sheshalik, to Noorvik, Kiana and Ambler, residents in Northwest Alaska are reporting their remote cabins have been raided by roaming brown bears. While bear break-ins in the region are not uncommon (last year there were about a dozen), Alaska Department of Fish and Game Kotzebue area wildlife biologist Jim Dau said he’s hearing of more -- and more widespread -- than usual.

The uptick in break-ins appears to be related to several factors. Dau said anecdotally the brown bear population in Northwest Alaska appears to be rising. Berries aren’t great in the region this year, and Dau said that’s forcing bears toward chum salmon-heavy waterways, including rivers and the coast. That’s also where most people have subsistence-use cabins.

Dau said bears are intelligent creatures. Once they break into one cabin with food, it becomes a learned behavior that's impossible to change.

Read more: Rash of bear break-ins hits Northwest Alaska cabins