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Juneau Bear Committee educating community on properly storing garbage Aug. 31-Sept. 4

August 30, 2020 – FYI

Members of the Juneau Bear Committee (JBC) will be out canvassing Juneau neighborhoods this week, August 31 to September 4, to provide education to community members on what qualifies as a bear resistant garbage can. The Juneau Bear Committee consists of representatives from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Division of Wildlife Conservation (ADF&G), the Juneau Police Department (JPD), City and Borough of Juneau, Alaska Waste Connections, in partnership with the Southeast Chapter of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, as well as community volunteers. The goal of the committee is to help minimize conflicts between bears and people in Juneau.

JBC will be adhering educational stickers to the tops of non-bear resistant garbage cans rented by residents, and provided by Alaska Waste, to help educate the public about cans that are not bear resistant and therefore should be stored in a manner that prevents bears from gaining access. For example, in a secure structure like a garage. Alaska Waste has granted JBC permission to do this. JBC will also be hanging informational fliers from the cans as a secondary way to help educate the public about how to store garbage/attractants responsibly.

This year has been shaping up to be a record year when it comes to bear-related calls and complaints made to ADF&G and JPD. This is due to a large number of young (also known as yearling) bears that are gaining access to unsecured attractants in the Juneau area. These bears are at risk of becoming not only food conditioned, but also habituated to the presence of humans. This means they are not afraid of humans, and see human trash as a food source. This may create a dangerous situation for neighborhoods and the community as a whole. The canvassing event is an effort to help educate citizens on the importance of securing attractants, and to remind the community that the garbage cans with a little red latch on top are not bear resistant containers.