Local News

Phil Mooney: Bears prefer Sitka (without garbage), pt. 2 of 2

SITKA, ALASKA Over the past three years, nineteen bears have been killed or captured in Sitka. Many were sows with multiple cubs, and others were juvenile boars that had killed chickens or dogs.
All, to some degree, had grown used to eating readily-available garbage from Sitka’s 35-hundred cans.
A proposed pilot project to create a centralized garbage pick-up area in the Indian River neighborhood is one way the Alaska Department of Fish & Game hopes to minimize the opportunity for bears to be tempted by garbage. The Indian River neighborhood is the sweet spot for bears: It’s a natural corridor for bear travel and the site of a major salmon stream.
ADF&G biologist Phil Mooney thinks that there’s plenty to keep a bear content in the Indian River Valley without the added allure of one-hundred trash cans. In part two of a two-part interview with KCAW’s Robert Woolsey, Mooney discusses the biological implications of the recent trash can experiment at Fortress of the Bear, a promising new hazing technique, and his belief that Sitka’s bear problem can be solved without the continued destruction of the animals.
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