Bears among us: Too close for comfort?
At least 20 grizzly bears, likely more, come to feed at the stream at some point each summer.
Never before has there been a bear mauling in town.
Not that the horrific attack on 15-year-old mountain biker Petra Davis last weekend came as a shock to those familiar with local bears. A small group of wildlife biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game have been warning for years that something like this could happen in popular Far North Bicentennial Park on the city's eastern edge.
Why?Because of the salmon in Campbell Creek.
The minimum spawning goal for king salmon there is 70 fish. But for years now almost a thousand of the big salmon have reached the spawning grounds every summer. Until a children-only fishery began this year, no people were allowed to fish for these salmon. They all went to the bears. Some 20,000 pounds of fish flesh is a lure the animals cannot resist. The bears come for the kings, and they stay for the subsequent runs of reds and silvers.
Research biologist Sean Farley concluded at least 20 grizzly bears, likely more, come to feed at the stream at some point each summer. Farley knows he didn't get a record of all the grizzlies visiting the creek, and he didn't even try to count the black bears that might sneak in and try to grab a fish here and there.