WHEREAS, Alaska is blessed with an abundance of wildlife, and healthy wildlife populations have a positive impact on the Alaskan way of life; and
WHEREAS, our state abounds with bear country and is notably home to all three species of North American bears. Black bears occur over most of the forested areas of Alaska and are found from sea level to alpine areas; brown bears are usually larger than black bears, with a more prominent shoulder hump, less prominent ears, and longer claws; and polar bears are large, have a longer neck and small head, live in the northernmost regions of our State, and are nearly always associated with sea ice; and
WHEREAS, five key bear-safety practices should be added to our daily routines and recreational activities: when out in the wilderness, make noise so that a bear is not surprised by human 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, humans can also 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, it is important to remember that a person’s behavior often dictates a bear’s behavior. As many of Alaska’s bears emerge from dens in early spring, April is a good time to remind Alaskans about bears, their behavior, and how we can live responsibly and safely in bear country.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Bill Walker, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim April 2017 as:
Bear Awareness Month
in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to learn about bear safety and responsible coexistence with bears to keep themselves and their families safe, and to ensure these remarkable animals can continue to thrive across our state for generations to come.
Dated: March 24, 2017