Governor Sean Parnell has proclaimed April “Bear Awareness Month” in Alaska as a way to remind everyone about bear safety and the importance of minimizing attractants to reduce human-bear conflicts. (For a copy of the full proclamation, visit http://gov.alaska.gov/parnell/
April is typically when bears begin emerging from dens on the Kenai Peninsula to look for food. That means it’s time to take down bird feeders, clean up garbage, and secure items around homes, businesses and recreation areas that might attract bears and other wildlife. Handling attractants responsibly reduces conflicts with bears and other wildlife and helps keep your community safe.
In 2013, the Kenai Brown Bear Committee (KBBC) is promoting the use of electric fences to deter bears around homes, businesses, remote camps and farms. Correctly installing electric fences around livestock and feed, beehives, fish smokers and campsites can prevent bear interactions that could lead to the loss of personal property and the unnecessary destruction of bears.
Kenai Peninsula residents who qualify as agricultural producers can apply for a USDA program that helps with the cost of electric fencing through the Natural Resource Conservation Service. Contact NRCS to determine if you qualify for this program and to discuss development of a bear avoidance plan.
Visit the KBBC booth at the Kenai Peninsula Home Show at the Soldotna Sports Center on April 27 and 28 to learn more about electric bear fencing and the NRCS program. Pick up a variety of bear safety information, see bear-track replicas, enter to win a prize, and try to open a bear-resistant garbage container. Shows hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday.
Some key bear awareness tips to keep in mind as bears wake up and become active include:
· Garbage: Use bear-resistant trash containers; keep garbage inside until pick-up, or dispose of waste immediately at a transfer station. Remember, if a bear gets into your trash, you can be fined!
· Freezers: Keep freezers locked in a secure building or otherwise out of reach of bears.
· Birdseed: Don’t feed birds during active bear season (April 1- November 1). Clean up spilled birdseed.
· Livestock and Pets: Install electric fences to keep bears out of animal pens, corrals, chicken coops, rabbit hutches, beehives and gardens. Store pet and livestock food out of reach of bears.
· Fish Waste, Gear and Fishing: If you clean fish at home, keep all fish waste in a freezer out of reach of bears until garbage pick-up. Store fishy nets, tackle and line indoors, in a garage or shed, or otherwise out of reach of bears. For information on fishing safety in bear country, visit the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website (www.alaskabears.alaska.gov).
For more information about the KBBC and to find additional information about what residents can do to promote responsible stewardship of Alaska’s bears, please visit our website:
Kenai Brown Bear Committee