Don’t Kill Wild Bears Because of Bad Housing Policies

Target: Dave Bronson, Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska

Goal: Adopt houseless policies that protect Anchorage’s unhoused community members and don’t put its bear population in danger.

Wildlife officials in Alaska have killed four black bears at a campground outside of Anchorage, Alaska. Two cubs, their mother and another adult bear were killed after entering Centennial Park, a campground which has been converted by the city into temporary site for houseless individuals.

Centennial Park is in what state officials describe as a “vast bear habitat,” according to The Guardian. There are over 400 bears living in the area; the combination of the high bear population, Anchorage’s dense housing, and the current time of year means bears are quite active. Centennial Park was converted into a temporary place for houseless individuals to camp (they can only stay a maximum of 14 days) after the Sullivan Arena, which had been serving as a housing for hundreds of individuals since 2020, was closed. According to USA Today, city officials were even warned that frequent bear encounters were possible at Centennial Park. But the city moved forward with plans to place its temporary shelter in the area.

Killing bears that enter camps in their native habitat because of an inefficient stop-gap measure addressing houselessness is cruel to everyone involved. The city of Anchorage should pursue houseless policies that would protect both its unhoused community members and its wild bear population.

As of July 2022, the city has provided residents at Centennial Park with “60 bear-proof food storage containers” and “20 bear-proof 32-gallon containers,” according to USA Today. But with 210 residents currently living at the campground that clearly isn’t enough to keep everyone safe. Anchorage Area Biologist Dave Battle is quoted in The Guardian saying, “there are still a lot of tents with food in them, until that changes, more bears are going to come into the campground and get into tents.” Simple measures, like ensuring each resident has their own bear-safe container to safely store the items that attract wildlife in their tents would work to protect the human and wildlife at Centennial Park. Battle continued, noting that “Killing any particular bear is a very temporary solution,” Battle said. “There are always going to be more bears in that vicinity because of its location, and we can’t teach bears not to eat what they can find.”

Sign this petition to call on Anchorage’s mayor to adopt policies that will actually address the city’s houseless problems while protecting the area’s wildlife population.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mayor Bronson,

The killing of four back bears outside of Anchorage is a tragedy. Protecting the unhoused population of your city is critically important but killing innocent wildlife to do so is cruel and unnecessary. Shunting Anchorage’s houseless population to a campground at the center of an active bear habitat fails to address the housing crisis in your city and puts wildlife in danger.

The city of Anchorage should pursue houseless policies that would protect both its unhoused community members and its wild bear population. You must do everything in your power to adopt policies that will actually address the city’s houseless problems while protecting the area’s wildlife population.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Yellowstone National Park


3 Comments

  1. Torah Wolf says:

    Why is killing or torturing animals always seem to be their only solution to a problem that just goes to show how ignorant and really stupid these people are

  2. Evan Jane Kriss says:

    How wise is it to place a camp in known bear territory? Just STOP placing people in close proximity to wildlife or these conflicts will continue.

    • Agreed, sure seems silly to me!! I’m so sick of people taking over so many areas, and then calling wildlife the “nuisance”!!

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