Chicken Coops Prove Irresistible to Urban Bears

courtesy of Anchorage Daily News
by Casey Grove

Chicken coop raids by local black bears are on the rise, just as Southcentral moves into its peak season for bear activity, according to an Anchorage biologist.

In July alone, at least five black bears caught pilfering poultry have been shot, either by homeowners or police, said Anchorage area Fish and Game biologist Jessy Coltrane, who said she suspects more bear kills go unreported.

“Chickens are one of our biggest attractants, aside from garbage and bird seed, and it’s growing because the number of chickens is growing,” Coltrane said.

Coltrane attributes the jump, in part, to a recent city ordinance that makes it easier to keep chickens within the municipality, from its northern boundary in Chugiak and Birchwood south to Girdwood.

Mostly, though, the problem stems from residents’ ignorance about bear deterrence in Anchorage, she said.

“I get, on average, a call a day about a bear getting into chickens,” Coltrane said. “They’re thinking I’m going to come do something about the bears. But what I really want is for them to secure their chickens.”

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