Wildlife officials are urging people to keep their trash secured after a garbage-surfing bear in Palmer had to be put down.
The young black bear had been going through trash near the Palmer airport for “a couple days” and was killed after law enforcement officers were sent to a neighborhood on the north side of town Monday evening, according to a release from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
It’s the first bear in recent memory that authorities had to remove from Palmer city limits, said wildlife biologist Todd Rinaldi. Because the bear was young — about 2-3 years old — it quickly developed bad habits, he said.
“We would like to use this unfortunate incident as a learning opportunity and reminder,” Rinaldi said in a statement. “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.”
Rinaldi and Alaska wildlife troopers ask Mat-Su 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.”
Valley residents can call the Palmer Fish & Game office at 746-6300 to report nuisance bear incidents. If the situation is an urgent public safety concern, people in the Mat-Su can also call Alaska State Troopers at 352-5401. Click here for more information on coexisting with bears.