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King Salmon and Naknek, Alaska
As part of this project, we are helping two bear-habituated communities in Alaska become bear-resistant, measuring the outcome scientifically, and using data to develop education programs for children in Alaska and beyond. Findings and methods from this project will also be provided to wildlife managers throughout the US to help guide future efforts to reduce human-bear conflicts.
We chose the two communities of Naknek and King Salmon for our project site owing to their timely need for bear-human conflict mediation, the research opportunities, the enormous potential for education outreach, and the financial need of the communities.
The communities of Naknek and King Salmon are currently experiencing significant bear-human conflicts. In Naknek, brown bears frequently visit places where children and the elderly live. Bears are common at the Bristol Bay-Borrough School (serving grades K-12), the Southwest Elders Home, and the Camai Community Health Center. In both Naknek and King Salmon, bears frequent apartments owned by the local Alaska Native Corporation.
One project goal is to purchase 11 bear-resistant containers for key areas throughout Naknek and King Salmon where bear-human conflicts are particularly high. In addition, we want to scientifically measure the outcome of installing bear-resistant containers using data on bear behavior and conflict calls. Finally, we will use data from this study to create a STEM conservation lesson plan for youth in Naknek, King Salmon, throughout Alaska, and beyond.
Photo copyright: J. Cummins/Bear Trust International