Social Media Used to Track Bears, Other Wildlife
Facebook page keeps track of wildlife encounters
EAGLE RIVER - Although Anchorage has seen it’s fair share of bear sightings and bear maulings, over in Eagle River it’s a completely different story, where bears are making themselves at home.
Now, residents are using social media to let their neighbors know of dangerous wildlife nearby.
Every time Susan Sommer leaves her house in Eagle River, she's on guard.
Sommer says she's seen a lot more grizzly and black bears wandering around lately in her backyard, this summer.
“These bears they seem to be getting bolder, and they don't scare off easily anymore,” she said.
They’re not only showing up at her doorstep. They’ve also been making the rounds around the neighborhood on Eagle River Loop Road. Her next-door neighbor was even mauled by a bear last month.
To help prevent another attack, Sommer is using Facebook, a social media tool, to help keep everyone informed.
“It’s definitely making us more aware with what's happening,” she said.
She created a page called "Critter Watch" two years ago, and has 75 active members, although it’s a closed group.
“[So we] just to have a place for the neighbors to post photos, and tell everyone else what wildlife they’re seeing around the neighborhood,” Sommer said.
Members post anything from moose sightings to recent bear encounters.
“We don't want run into bears out here, and you know we know that they live around here, but we don’t want them to feel comfortable in our yards,” she said.
She says the page has brought the community together and hopes that it will create another layer of safety when she leaves home.