With an increasingly bold bear population making inroads on Juneau’s trash can territory, the Juneau Bear Committee will spend this week identifying weak links in the chain, Juneau Police Department announced.
The JBC has members drawn from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, JPD, City and Borough of Juneau, Alaska Waste Connection and the Alaska Wildlife Alliance.
“The JBC will be adhering educational stickers to the tops of non-bear resistant garbage cans rented by residents, and provided by Alaska Waste, to help educate the public about cans that are not bear-resistant and therefore should be stored in a manner that prevents bears from gaining access. (ex: in a secure structure like a garage, etc.),” wrote JPD Lt. Krag Campbell in a news release. “Alaska Waste has granted the JBC permission to do this.”
The year is gunning for the title for bear-calls, Campbell said, with high numbers of calls made to both the Department of Fish and Game and JPD.
“This is because of a large number of young (also known as yearling) bears that are gaining access to unsecured attractants in the Juneau area,” Campbell said. “These bears are at risk of becoming not only food conditioned, but also habituated to the presence of humans.”
If the bears become used to humans, Campbell said, it might create dangerous interactions with members of the public.
“The canvassing event is an effort to help educate citizens on the importance of securing attractants by educating them on what is commonly misunderstood as a ‘bear-resistant container,’ the garbage cans with a little red latch on top,” Campbell said.
Garbage cans should be secured in a space such as a dedicated shed or garage that’s secure against bears in between garbage collection days, according to the CBJ. Residents who fail to abide by this may be cited and fined $50 for repeated offenses.
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.