10 July 2012 Defenders Help Rural Community Coexist With Bears Posted by: Julia Collins | Leave a comment | Share: Defenders of Wildlife’s Alaska representative Theresa Fiorino visited the rural Village of Chignik Lake in early June to help its fishermen put an end to years of conflict with hungry brown bears. Lured by the smell of tasty smoked salmon, clever bears have been burglarizing the community’s fish smokers for a fast meal. Residents, frustrated with the break-ins, have tried numerous deterrents. Some of those deterrents include reinforcing structures with tin or wood and scaring the bears with guns or dogs. Some residents attempted to trick the bears by playing the radio to make them think someone was around. One resident even set up a booby-trap that sprayed a bear in the face with bear spray. Unfortunately these measures were met with only varying degrees of success: however, they still have reduced the number of bears killed by villagers in attempts to protect their property. A long-term solution was sought after for both the community and the bears and Defenders’ was there to help. After discussing the conflict with residents, Fiornio, assisted by Alaska Department of Fish and Game regional biologist Jim Woolington, helped the community develop coexistence tools to deal with the issue. Fiornio and Woolington surrounded one resident’s fish smoker with non-lethal electric fencing to keep the bears at bay. Using the demonstration fence as an example, Defenders will continue working with the remaining community members to secure their smokehouses with electric fencing. Deterring bears from getting into smokers will help residents’ protect their property and reduce future conflict. While these big bruins may still wander into the area, Defenders aims to ensure they are not rewarded for doing so. By using tools such as electric fencing and other coexistence measures, we can protect human safety and property as well as build tolerance for bears; thus reducing the number killed. Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in The Votes Are In… You voted, and we listened – now the winners of Defenders’ 2014 Photo Contest are here! See if your favorite won, and take a look at some of the amazing runner-ups. We’ve Got to Protect What’s Left of the Sagebrush Sea New research shows that after a fire, the Sagebrush Sea (home to the imperiled greater sage-grouse) could take up to 20 years to fully recover. With other factors already threatening so much of this habitat, what does that mean for the species that call it home? California prepares to welcome wolves home, but delays on providing state protections Now, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to remove Endangered Species Act protection for wolves throughout most of the rest of the country, gray wolves are once again at risk. Delisting would short-circuit wolf recovery in the Pacific West and would effectively mean giving up on one of our country’s most important and iconic species. Fortunately, California has an opportunity to play a meaningful role in helping the gray wolf continue to recover in the coming months and years.