Butte, Alaska (KTUU) – As temperatures continue to drop across the state, Alaska’s largest predator is fattening up for hibernation.
But Butte’s bear is wreaking havoc on the inhabitants.
Reports of property damage and chicken carcasses began arriving at the Fish and Game Service last week and spilled over to the social media pages of the Matanuska-Susitna Municipality community.
Tim Pelletier, a wildlife biologist with the department’s Wildlife Conservation Service, said it’s not unheard of for bears to destroy things, but the numerous attacks aren’t normal behaviour.
“It’s very rare to have an incident like this where there is property damage and chickens are killed like that,” Pelletier said. “This may be the third time in the 16 years I’ve been here that I’ve heard that bears are causing enough trouble to reach our level.”
Peltier’s desk has six reports from community members who have encountered bear wrath.
Another resident of Butte, Don Dyer of the Polaris Hatchery, make a plan Where each attack occurred — all 11 reported incidents to share with the community.
“It’s just raising public awareness so that we can track and find this bear and deal with it in a productive way,” Dyer said.
According to Dyer’s map, the bear began rummaging in a backyard east of the Matanuska River in the Bodenberg Loop area and moved north across the river. Some witnesses said they saw sows and cubs, while others claimed to have seen only adult bears.
Hungry bears seem to prefer meat, primarily targeting chicken coops.
“It just killed the chicken,” Dyer said.
Homeowners have the right to protect their personal property. Protection of life and property law. It’s unclear if anyone has shot bears yet, but they can legally shoot if they pose a threat. But it’s not so black and white.
“There are caveats to that law,” Pelletier said. “In the first place, you can’t bring in an attractant, something that brought a bear onto the property.”
That’s why the Department is encouraging Alaskans to secure trash bins and secure pet food. If an individual shoots a bear on their property, a wildlife officer will conduct an investigation to see if there was a reason the bear was attracted to the area.
The Butte Bear rampage continued over the weekend and into earlier this week, but no incidents have been reported in the past two days.
“If anyone catches this bear, it’s important to report it to the police,” said Peltier. “To comply with the DLP law, he must report 15 days after capturing the animal.”
The agency is actively trying to locate the problem bears to address the issue, and is asking residents to send photos they may have. Meanwhile, the Butte community continues to keep an eye on their shack.
“We reinforced everything with additional fencing and wire mesh, and now park our tractors and trucks by our door at night,” says Dyer.
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