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Episode 57: Bears in Our Backyard

By KTVA Alaska 7:31 AM May 30, 2016

I don’t know about you, but bears are always a bit of a mystery to me. Some people walk away unscathed from close encounters with bears. For others, life turns tragic in a matter of seconds.

With humans and urban bears crossing paths more frequently this spring, we thought this Memorial Day weekend would be a good time to take a closer look at the bears in Anchorage’s backyard.

Some of the highlights of this week’s show:

  • KTVA’s Joe Vigil asks a wildlife expert to analyze footage taken at the recent Gold Nugget Triathlon, where a bear and her two cubs surprised competitors. There were some precarious moments, which could have easily turned deadly.
  • An update on the condition of three Alaskans who were attacked by bears during the last six weeks.
  • We hear from Kenny Stent, a Juneau man who says he saw the face of the devil in Yakutat when he was attacked by a brown bear. He tells KTVA’s Shannon Ballard the story of how he managed to survive.
  • Our guests this week are Sean Farley and Elizabeth Manning from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Manning is a wildlife educator for the department, with some pointers on what to do — and what not to do — should you happen upon a bear. Farley is the lead researcher of Fish and Game’s bear-cam project, in which black bears in Anchorage were outfitted with collars that have a camera attached. The video is transmitted via satellite, a true “bear’s-eye view” of the world. We’ll have some of this amazing footage on the show.

We also recorded an extended Web Extra interview with Manning and Farley about the bear-cam project and what completely took them by surprise. Farley also has some theories on how the weather might be a factor in the recent bear attacks.

Finally, every episode of Frontiers must have a little dessert. This week’s is provided by KTVA’s Heather Hintze with a profile of an elder from Anaktuvuk Pass — a master mask maker, who incorporates many parts of the caribou in her artwork.

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