Stephen Bethune is the new area wildlife management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Sitka. He replaced longtime biologist Phil Mooney, who retired earlier this year. KCAW’s Katherine Rose spent some time with Bethune to see how he’s adjusting to life in Sitka.
Bear activity around Sitka has picked up recently. And wildlife managers want to remind people to be safe around their homes and on their hikes.
The 2015 bear season is not quite over. The Sitka Police Department has received several recent reports of bear sightings around town -- on the SeaMountain Golf Course and near Indian River Road.
The Department of Fish and Game is urging Sitkans to remain vigilant about bears.
Bears aren’t my friends and they aren’t more important than people but I respect them for what they are and understand my responsibility for the space and resources we share.
In their natural environment in early spring, bears subsist mainly on grasses and sedges, which Biologist Phil Mooney calls a 'dry salad' compared to the buffet of steak and seafood options available around humans.