A woman whose dog was picked up by a black bear in Juneau punched it in the head, and the bear let go of her dachsund. “It was a stupid thing but I couldn’t help it. I know you’re not supposed to do that but I didn’t want my dog to be killed,” she explained. (Source: JuneauEmpire.com) Her boyfriend ran toward the bear, which appeared startled by the punch and it ran off. The woman said she has seen the bear in the area before, and believes it might know which days trash is set out. She added she would never hit a bear again. Their home is near the base of Mount Juneau.
Black bears roam with some regularity in Juneau neighborhoods. Because of the local bear population, the city of Juneau has a website detailing bear issues and laws. They say Juneau is located in the bears habitat, and this is an accepted fact, “The people of Juneau have experienced recurring conflicts with bears in our community. The city is surrounded by prime black bear habitat and it isn’t uncommon to see bears wandering through town. Juneau residents treasure the natural surroundings in which we live: we live in bear country and we feel lucky to do so.” (Source: Juneau.org) Bears typically are attracted to human communities because of unsecured garbage or food being left outdoors – both human and pet food. They have a very good sense of smell and are very smart, especially when it comes to getting food.
So far, no serious attacks on humans by black bears have been reported in Juneau, according to the site. It has been reported that bears may develop a taste for some human foods, and therefore can have extra motivation to get into homes or wherever the food is located. Bear-human conflicts there actually have been reduced over time due to community campaigns, “Barten credits ‘bear awareness’ and community efforts to better secure trash as reasons for the improvement over 10 years ago, when bears had easy access to garbage. Still, there are bears that know what pizza scraps taste like and some are willing to go to the extra trouble to get them. ” (Source: Wolfsongnews.org)
It seems another obvious solution is to reduce or halt the construction of human residences in wildlife habitat, and this goes not only for bears, but all wild animals because there is so little uninterrupted land left for them.
Image Credit: Sam Glover