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Bear Awareness Month

Apr 1, 2023

WHEREAS, Alaska is blessed with an abundance of wildlife and the state’s healthy wildlife populations have a significant impact on the Alaskan way of life; and

WHEREAS, our state is notably home to all three species of North American bears, including approximately 100,000 black bear and 30,000 brown bear . Black bears live within most of the forested areas of Alaska and they are found from sea level to alpine areas. Brown bears are generally larger than black bears, with a more prominent shoulder hump, less prominent ears, and longer claws. Polar bears are typically white with a longer neck and small head, and they live in the northernmost regions of our state where they are nearly always associated with sea ice; and

WHEREAS, all Alaskans, whether in rural or urban areas, live in bear country, so all people should incorporate these five key bear-safety practices into their daily routines: when out in the wilderness, make noise so that a bear is not surprised by your presence; stay alert and actively look for signs of bears; never approach or crowd bears; keep food, garbage, and other attractants out of the reach of bears; stay calm during a bear encounter, and do not run; and

WHEREAS, it is important to remember that how a person reacts will often dictate how a bear will behave, and humans can reduce the likelihood of bear encounters around the home by removing bird feeders, securing garbage in bear-resistant containers, not feeding bears, planting gardens away from trails, and frequently turning compost; and

WHEREAS, whether fishing for salmon in a stream, hiking on a trail, or putting trash out for pickup – efforts to educate all Alaskans about bear safety will instill in people an important understanding of Alaska’s bears and how we can cohabitate effectively; and

WHEREAS, many of Alaska’s bears emerge from dens in early spring, which is why April is the ideal time to remind Alaskans about bears, their behaviors, and how we can live responsibly and safely in bear country; and

NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim April 2023 as:

Bear Awareness Month

in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to educate themselves about being safe around Alaska’s bears to facilitate confident and safe outdoor adventures for all.

Dated: April 1, 2023