Black bear resisting hibernation in Alaskan capital

Jan. 10, 2014 at 3:40 PM
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JUNEAU, Alaska, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Residents of Juneau, Alaska, said a black bear first spotted in November seems to be resisting hibernation to search for food in the city.

Juneau resident Denise Carroll said she has been seeing the black bear and its tracks in the area around her home, about a mile from Juneau Douglas High School. Since it first raided her birdfeeder in November, the animal has made return appearances every time she puts the bird feeder back up thinking it's too late in the season for bear problems, the Juneau Empire reported Friday.

Mary Feldt of the Starr Hill neighborhood said she initially thought the bear was a dog when she spotted it while walking her puppy Dec. 27.

"It was literally just sitting next to the staircase comfortably, as if patrolling the neighborhoods, like a dog might do," she said. "I jumped a little ... the black bear was equally as startled."

Alaska Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist Ryan Scott said reports from the Juneau Police Department around the New Year's holiday "sounded like the bear was going from garbage can to garbage can."

He said the bear's hibernation may have been delayed due to a shortage of food, or "on the flip side, if food is available, it doesn't have a reason to go into hibernation."

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