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 Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in It’s Time to Act for Right Whales Years after they agreed to expand critical habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales, we’re still waiting on NMFS to follow through. So we took to the courts to get this much-needed protection in place. How Should We Honor Earth Day? America has many worldwide firsts in conservation: we were the first nation to establish a national park, the first to create a national wildlife refuge, the first to approve a law protecting endangered species and the first to create a national day dedicated to conservation, Earth Day. But today, we are experiencing another period of crisis in America’s commitment to conservation. When did conservation become a polarizing political issue, when it has been, for the past century, a defining characteristic of American values and the American spirit? Ecological Insults and Injuries Revealed Four Years after Deepwater Horizon Four years after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, we’re beginning to see the full scope of how this ecological disaster is impacting our wildlife on land, air and sea.