Black bear family roams Alaska neighborhood looking for food

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A family of five black bears is roaming an Alaska neighborhood, toppling trash cans as the group rummages for food and scaring some residents who believe the animals are the same ones seen in the area last summer.

The sow and four cubs were last seen Sunday in the Government Hill neighborhood near downtown Anchorage, the Alaska Dispatch News, an Anchorage newspaper, reported (http://is.gd/AAe1mB ).

“We don’t have one bear, that’s a problem,” resident Rebecca Rogers said. “We have five.”

Wildlife biologists cannot confirm it is the same family of bears that frequented the neighborhood last summer.

A lot of bears move in and out of the area next to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, and a litter of four cubs is not unheard of, said David Saalfeld, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist.

“But it could be the same bear and cubs,” Saalfeld said.

Rogers said the adult bear lunged at her young Rottweiler on Friday, the first sighting of the animals this year in the neighborhood surrounded by the military base, Port of Anchorage and an industrial area along Ship Creek.

The area attracts wildlife through the open spaces of the military base, Saalfeld said.

Stephanie Kesler, president of the local community council, said the neighborhood took steps last year to make sure people put away garbage and were careful with food that could attract bears, such as birdfeeders.

Trash problems persisted; some residents don’t have garages or other indoor space to store trash, Kesler said.

Bear-proof trash canisters are not offered to the neighborhood, but the council recently passed a resolution requesting them as an option, she said.

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Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, http://www.adn.com

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