Skip to content

Bear Awareness Month

Apr 1, 2024

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 bears, 30,000 brown bears, and an estimated 4,000 – 7,000 polar bears. Black bears live within most of the forested areas of Alaska and 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 and are considered marine mammals; and

WHEREAS, all Alaskans, whether in rural or urban areas, live in bear country, so every citizen should incorporate these five key bear-safety practices into their daily routines: when out in the wilderness, make noise so bears are 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 and do not run during a bear encounter; and

WHEREAS, it is important to remember that a person’s reaction will often dictate how a bear will behave, and humans can reduce the likelihood of bear encounters around their homes by removing bird feeders, securing garbage in bear-resistant containers, refraining from 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 an important understanding of Alaska’s bears and how we can cohabitate effectively; and

WHEREAS, many of Alaska’s bears emerge from hibernation in early spring, making April an important time to be reminded of bears, their behaviors, and how we can live responsibly and safely in bear country.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim April 2024 as:

Bear Awareness Month

in Alaska and encourage all Alaskans to educate themselves about bear safety, thereby ensuring confident and safe outdoor adventures for all.

Dated: April 1, 2024