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Troopers issue warning after bear encounters on Kodiak Island

KODIAK — Wildlife troopers are warning Kodiak residents to be alert after multiple sightings and encounters with Kodiak bears were reported near residential areas, wildlife authorities said.

Alaska Wildlife Troopers confirmed at least three bears could be recognized as frequent visitors to areas inside Kodiak city limits on Kodiak Island, Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Friday.

A bear was seen Wednesday night walking toward the docks by King's Diner near the Kodiak Police Department station, authorities said.

Kodiak bears often break fences and gates and enter vehicles in search of food, troopers said.

"The idea that one of the bears can open vehicles is something that hasn't happened in the past," Sgt. Todd Mountain said. "Bears are smart. They learn. If the door is unlocked they will grab (the door handle) with their teeth."

Although this is a normal occurrence in other areas, it is new in Kodiak, Mountain said.

Kodiak bears are a subspecies of brown bears and are known as the largest bears in the world, wildlife officials said.

Residents are urged to carry pepper spray and bells especially when hiking, walking a dog in the dark or on foggy days with low visibility, authorities said.

“Surprising a bear is probably the biggest danger. If you make noise, for the most part the bear knows you’re there,” Mountain said. “A large majority of the time, bears don’t want to be in the same space with you either. They are a wild animal and will do what they can to get out of danger.”