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Phil Mooney: Hot spots for Sitka bears, part 1 of 2

SITKA, ALASKA When herring arrive in Sitka, brown bears are not too far behind. The first police calls of the season are usually in neighborhoods along the beach front, where bears are drawn in to the herring spawn, early skunk cabbage, and some of the other first foods of spring.
Many of these spring bears have recently emerged from their dens. They’ll stay in Sitka just a short time, and then move out to their established ranges. For the bears that remain, though, Sitka itself may be their home range. Over the past several years the Alaska Department of Fish & Game has worked to try to understand the dynamics of the local bear population through tracking studies.
In part one of a two-part interview, ADF&G biologist Phil Mooney discusses Sitka’s local bears, how and why they take up residence here, and why having a few mature, people-savvy bears around may not be such a bad idea.
He spoke with KCAW’s Robert Woolsey.
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