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Bears are active and looking for food in Anchorage neighborhoods

A young black bear eats grass near the Boniface Road exit off the Glenn Highway in April. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)

As the city turns green and snow melts, another sign of spring in Anchorage: Bears are roaming residential neighborhoods.

On Monday, a Government Hill resident reported a black bear getting into a chicken pen and birdseed on East Manor Avenue, said Ken Marsh, a spokesman with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. State biologists were in the neighborhood looking for the bear.

Staff at South Anchorage High School got an e-mail Monday morning warning that a bear had been spotted on school property, along with a moose cow and calf. Marsh said Fish and Game hadn’t heard about that sighting.

Also on Monday, a brown bear was reported to have approached the deck of a home at a house off O’Malley Road on the Hillside, Marsh said.

Reports about Anchorage bears started rolling in the last week of April and have increased in the first week of May, Marsh said. None of the reports have involved a direct threat to people.

That’s pretty typical, he said. Bears are awake and looking for food.

“It’s green-up,” Marsh said. “There are natural foods available, dandelion and clover.”

Marsh said it’s past time to make sure yards and garbage don’t contain bear attractants such as birdseed or trash in non-bear-proof receptacles.

“We sound like a broken record every year,” he said. “Take charge of your trash.”