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Sleep or die? Authorities consider killing nuisance bears in Kodiak if they don’t hibernate soon

  • Author: Associated Press
  • Updated: November 15, 2018
  • Published November 15, 2018

KODIAK - Alaska wildlife officials are considering killing nuisance bears in Kodiak if they don’t go into hibernation soon.

City manager Mike Tvenge told the council last week that state Department of Fish and Game officials working with Kodiak police will likely kill these bears, noting that non-lethal measures have become less effective, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported.

"Kodiak Police Department is working closely with Alaska Department of Fish and Game to deter the bears from getting into the (trash) roll carts, but those efforts have had short-lasting effects," Tvenge told the city officials. "The bears are now becoming used to the non-lethal bullets and pepper shots."

Police and wildlife officials have responded to several calls in recent weeks about bears getting into trash. In one incident last month, a bear broke into a garage.

Kodiak police will provide backup to the wildlife officials, who have already accompanied officers on some patrols, police Lt. Francis de la Fuente said. Killing a bear in a residential area is not an easy task, he said.

The wildlife department does not usually decide to kill a bear without first conferring with appropriate local, state or federal agencies, said Nate Svoboda, a department wildlife biologist.

"Making the decision to dispatch a bear is not something ADF&G often endorses, as this does little to curb the fundamental problem of bears getting into easily accessible and unprotected trash," Svoboda said.

Before killing a bear, the department will first try to address core problems, like what's attracting the bear to the area, Svoboda said. Relocating bears is not a viable option, he said.

“This can be very difficult, time-consuming, resource intense and expensive, and typically does little to solve the core problem,” Svoboda said. "In addition, relocating bears to other regions can disrupt the natural system in the area the bear gets relocated. "