A rash of bear sightings over the weekend is making bear experts a little wary of a possible lone and increasingly brazen bear.
Several sightings — quite possibly of the same bear — were reported on May 18.
Police were called on four occasions. The first report, in the wee hours of the morning May 18, described a bear on Selief getting into garbage. Police were called and chased it off into the woods.
Next, a bear was sighted again at a different residence on Selief, and the “bear attempted to charge at him from his neighbor’s yard,” the bear sighting report said.
The next sighting occurred a few minutes later, when a Selief resident claimed the “bear charged complainant,” but that the “bear was possibly injured from a previous incident in a residential area.”
Next, around 10:30 p.m., a “young juvenile” bear was seen playing with a resident’s buoy swing, and then left the property along the fence of the municipal airstrip.
These four sightings and several others in the area could all be of the same bear.
“Based on photos and descriptions from members of the public, it is quite possible this is the same bear that was shot and wounded near Woodland and Puffin Drive a few weeks ago when getting into chicken coops,” Svoboda said.
“It is very likely this is the same bear that continues to get into residents trash containers along Selief/ Mylark Lane,” he added.
The fact that police were able to photograph and haze the bear turned out to be fortuitous, however.
“A lot of times by the time the troopers make it on scene the bear is already gone. There are occasional circumstances like those that occurred yesterday that the officers had an opportunity to haze it,” said Nathan Svoboda, wildlife biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Still, the bear’s brazenness worried animal control people.
“This bear appears to be becoming increasingly bold and may require additional action,” Svoboda added.
The additional action could be continued hazing of the animal.
Hazing includes shooting the bear with non-lethal rubber duck shot, beanbags or cracker shells “to train him to come to the understanding that he can’t be getting into trash cans, basically that he’s not welcome in town,” Svoboda said.
He added that for neighbors in the bear zones around Kodiak, “proper waste management is the key to avoiding these situations.”