This bear might also have been shot twice after raiding a chicken coop and a dumpster in recent weeks, but continues to stay in town because of easy meals, experts say.
“We have probably one bear that’s a problem child right now, and he’s been rewarded several times.” said Larry Van Daele, regional supervisor for Alaska Division of Fish and Game wildlife division.
“By getting that human source of food he is thinking that’s an alternative to going out and eating grass and berries and eventually fish,” Van Daele added. “Once the bear starts getting into that mode it’s like a dog that starts getting your garbage under the sink. It doesn’t mean that’s a bad dog forever it just means you need to take the temptation away and convince him that that’s not a smart thing to do,”
Van Daele also said the bear should have two alternatives: change its eating habits or die.
According to some residents, the roll cart, implemented by the borough for use around the city portion of Kodiak two years ago, is part of the problem.
Leonard Roberson, member of the Kodiak Island Borough solid waste advisory board, recently excoriated members for the roll cart policy in light of the recent bear shootings in town.
“If you want to know whose fault it is that we have bears walking around with bullet holes in ‘em, it’s yours,” Roberson told the assembly.
“Over the last year since people started putting these roll carts out, I think nobody can deny that has caused more bear interactions within our community,” Roberson added.
Large, green dumpsters are largely seen as more bear-safe. Van Daele reports that a roll cart is “an easier place for bears to get garbage.”
“If they have an easy way to get garbage and they’ve gotten it before, they’re going to keep trying to get it until they are dissuaded against that,” Van Daele said.
Bob Tucker, the borough’s engineering and facilities director, thinks the problem has more to do with improper trash disposal than the roll carts, which were implemented as an ordinance in 2012.
“We have some issues with the roll carts — they’re not bear proof. Nothing is bear-proof. I’ve seen them rip through a dumpster,” Tucker said.
He asserts that residents attract bears to the roll carts by leaving unsecured garbage bags outside as well.
“They leave it out on the street next to the roll cart and the bears get in,” Tucker added.
Street trash will attract scavengers other than bears as well.
“That’s not just attracting bears, that’s attracting dogs and ravens and magpies and anything that wants to get a free meal. So if you leave garbage unsecured, be it on the curb or next to your house, that’s going to attract some sort of a scavenger and bears that like to get a free meal,” he said.
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