Bear Awareness Month April 1, 2020 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 is notably home to all three species of North American bears, including approximately 100,000 black bear and 30,000 brown bear. Black bears occur over 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, large, with a longer neck and small head, live in the northernmost regions of our State, and are nearly always associated with sea ice; and WHEREAS, all Alaskans, whether in rural or urban areas, live in bear country. 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 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. 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 in a salmon stream, hiking on a trail, or putting trash out for pickup, efforts to educate all Alaskans to learn about bears and bear safety will instill an important understanding of Alaska’s bears and how we can cohabitate safely; and WHEREAS, many of Alaska’s bears emerge from dens in early spring, making April a good time to remind Alaskans about bears, their behavior 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 2020 as: Bear Awareness Month in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to educate themselves regarding safety issues connected with Alaska’s bears, thereby ensuring confident and safe outdoor adventures for all.