This week on Frontiers, we revisit last month’s drama of five-bears-gone-rogue in an Anchorage neighborhood called Government Hill — when a sow and her cubs roamed the alleys, helping themselves to trash can buffets and birdseed. Eventually, they were relocated, thanks to Gov. Bill Walker, who called off plans to kill the bears.
The sow was not unfamiliar to researchers at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. To them, she is known as Bear 15.
In 2013, Sean Farley, a wildlife physiologist and researcher, outfitted her with a GPS collar that had a camera similar to a GoPro attached.
The bear cam offered a bear’s eye view of the world. Bear 15 wore hers for about six weeks.
The department is using the recorded images as an educational tool for the public.
The video clips from Bear 15’s camera show an amazing variety of food in her diet — from trash, to berries and bugs, to dandelions and stolen chicken feed.
The footage, gathered in 10-second bursts every 20 minutes, showed how Bear 15 traveled far and wide across Anchorage, encountering traffic and joggers. In many cases, people were not aware of her presence.
There’s a map that shows the recorded locations of the collared bears. Among the notes on Bear 15:
- Sunday, June 30, 2013: Eating insects.
- Monday, July 1, 2013: Walking along the Coastal Trail. Investigating bear-resistant dumpster at Kincaid Park.
- Thursday, July 4, 2013: Walking in an alley.
- Saturday, July 6, 2013: Eating trash she drug into the woods.
- Sunday, July 7, 2013: Resting in a spruce tree. Running across major highway intersection.
- Friday, July 12, 2013: Standing to look over a fence.
- Sunday, July 14, 2013: Resting in a tree with head between forepaws.
- Wednesday, July 17, 2013: Eating trash on a lawn.