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Bear Killed in Palmer Underscores Need to Secure Trash

A young black bear that spent a couple of days rummaging trash in a residential neighborhood near the Palmer Airport was dispatched by law enforcement officers Monday night in a neighborhood on the north side of town.

The bear is the first in recent memory that officials have had to remove from Palmer city limits, according to area wildlife biologist Todd Rinaldi.

“We would like to use this unfortunate incident as a learning opportunity and reminder,” said Rinaldi. “Bears occasionally will wander through our neighborhoods in Palmer, Wasilla and other Valley communities and that’s just a part of living in Alaska. What we don’t want them doing is sticking around because garbage, poorly secured pet or livestock feed, and other food-based attractants are available.”

All communities in the Matanuska and Susitna Valleys are set in bear country. Natural foods are abundant and nuisance issues with bears are less common than in nearby Anchorage. To discourage bears from turning from natural foods to feast on trash, salmon carcasses left over from personal-use fisheries, pet and livestock feed, and birdseed, Rinaldi and Alaska Wildlife Troopers advise Valley residents to take the following precautions:

Garbage – Store trash inside buildings or in bear-proof containers; keep secured until the day of scheduled pickup. Encourage neighbors to do the same.

Electric fences – Electric fences can keep bears out of gardens, compost, and away from buildings, chicken coops, and domestic animals. For more information, contact your area department office or the visit the department webpage at www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=livingwithbears.bearfences.

Barbecues – Clean barbecue grills, especially grease traps, after each use.

Pets – Feed pets indoors or clean up excess and spilled food between meals. Store pet food, livestock food and birdseed indoors or in bear-resistant containers.

Bird Feeders – Take feeders down April through October, store out of bears’ reach and remove spilled seeds.

Freezers – Keep freezers locked in a secure building or otherwise out of bears’ reach.

Gardens – Plant gardens in the open, away from cover and game trails. Only compost raw vegetable matter and turn over compost frequently.

To report nuisance bear incidents, Valley residents should call the Alaska Department of Fish and Game office in Palmer at (907) 746-6300; if the situation involves an immediate public safety concern, contact the Alaska State Troopers at Mat-Com Dispatch (907) 352-5401.

For more information about coexisting with bears, visit www.alaskabears.alaska.gov.