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 Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Audit of Wildlife Services to be Conducted in 2014 United States Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General has confirmed that they will be undertaking an audit of Wildlife Services’ Predator Control program in 2014. A rare sighting at Skilak In a remote part of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, our Alaska representative catches a rare glimpse of a majestic but elusive animal. Living With Wildlife: Australian Edition Our experts are working with their counterparts around the world to see if the nonlethal methods we develop here to keep wolves and livestock safe can help with similar situations in other countries.