Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Wildlife officials are urging the public to keep vigilant – and their distance – after bear sightings around town

Signs at Fort Abercrombie alerting the public of a sow and her cubs in the area (Photo: Kirsten Dobroth/KMXT)
Signs at Fort Abercrombie alerting the public of a sow and her cubs in the area (Photo: Kirsten Dobroth/KMXT)

A Kodiak brown bear and her three cubs have been frequenting neighborhoods and hiking trails around town over the last week. The sow and her cubs were first spotted near the Buskin and have made their way to Safeway – off Mill Bay Road – and Fort Abercrombie in the last few days.

Nate Svoboda is the state’s area management biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. He estimates the cubs to be two-and-a-half-years-old. And he says so far, they’ve stayed away from trash and people.

“We haven’t had really any reports of her really getting into mischief or causing much of a problem as far as getting into non natural foods,” Svoboda said.

Svoboda says the bears seem to be finding plenty of berries and fish – but it’s a good reminder to the community to properly dispose of trash. It’s also a crime to leave out attractants – including bird seed or dog food. Kodiak residents are usually pretty good about that, according to Svoboda – and it’s crucially important now to make sure the sow and her cubs keep moving along.

“It’s pretty amazing when we can have a sow and cubs come into town and not cause problems and eat natural foods and I’m sure as long as we continue down this path she’ll wander off like the other bears that come into town and leave without incident,” said Svoboda.

Svoboda says that even though these bears have been frequenting areas around town, it’s important to respect their space. That includes making noise on the trails and walking in groups.

“The members of our community by and large do a really good job and have respect for the bears and try and do the right thing. You know, I think it’s important to recognize that and encourage people to continue to do that and not only that, but encourage your neighbors to do the same thing.”

Svoboda says that respect is key to the safety of both the bears and people.