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Black bears spotted near UAA campus

By Lauren Maxwell 8:04 PM June 11, 2014

Students on the University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University campuses are being asked to keep a close eye out for a mother black bear with two cubs. The bears have been making the rounds between the two schools for the past several days.

The bears have been most commonly spotted on the trails near Goose Lake, including Wednesday, when it temporarily blocked the path of cyclists and runners.

Police chief Mark Mew was taking his lunch break when he came across the bears on the trail. He said the cubs were putting on a show but the crowd was being respectful.

“Everybody I saw was doing just the right thing,” said Mew. “ A couple people just turned around and left, others stayed way back. Nobody is going to approach a sow with cubs, they knew to stay back.”

The bears also made a surprise appearance at Goose Lake Park, but lifeguards were able to clear the beach without incident. Sarah Kuechtel was there with three young children.

“They informed us that it was coming closer so we kind of packed up our kiddos,” said Kuechtel. “ We did see her as she came to the edge of the beach, then she did turn and we were very thankful for that.”

The bears are well known to campus police, who tend to leave them alone.

“It doesn’t seem aggressive, “ said Lt. Mike Beckner. “But you don’t want to go pet it.  It’s one of those things, you have to use good common sense. We are in Alaska, there’s wildlife everywhere, but it’s got two cubs so it could become aggressive if it needs to protect it’s children.”

Fish and Game biologist Dave Battle said they are aware of the bear and are not particularly concerned about her behavior. While he said that she seems to be very non-aggressive he also reminded the public that it’s a good idea to keep your distance from any bears, especially those with cubs.


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