Black bears outsmart bear-proof cans in East Anchorage
Toppled over trash cans spilling out household waste are a common site near Bolin Street in East Anchorage, especially midday on a Sunday, as a mix of regular and bear-proof trash cans line the street, in preparation for Monday morning's trash pick up.
Bears had already hit the neighborhood once Sunday, according to resident Arthur West.
"You see the trash back there? They just snatch the bags and they run over the fence with them and they leave all the debris back there in the back and there's nothing anybody can do," West explained, pointing to trash in the trees near his home.
West pointed out even some of the "bear-proof" trash cans have been tipped over, pried open and rifled through.
"The little latches don't even latch anymore cause they beat them up so much," said West.
He and others in the neighborhood fear for the safety of their children, as the bears have grown bolder than ever, and the neighbors want something to be done.
Fish and Game officials say it's illegal to put trash out before the morning of pickup, but they don't have the resources to focus on enforcing that rule.
"Enforcement, unfortunately, is secondary at the moment. We will certainly write citations if we have good evidence, if people take pictures of bears in trash and we can see the address behind the trash, we'll go ahead and take care of that, but we just don't have time to go out and write a lot of tickets," said Fish and Game spokesperson Ken Marsh said in a previous interview.
West said some of his neighbors are forced to put their trash out early because they have irregular work schedules and won't be home in time to do it before the Monday morning pick up.
One neighbor said he has no garage to secure his trash in; the bears get into it multiple times a day whether it's behind his home or out on the curb.
Marsh says it takes everyone doing their part to avoid creating dangerous bear situations.
"As long as that trash is available, bears will continue to come out. They will have to be removed, probably by lethal means, and the cycle will keep repeating itself. So, it’s really up to homeowners, residents of the neighborhood to take care of their trash. Keep it secured; don’t take it out until morning of trash pick up," said Marsh.
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