While bears are often cute, they can also be dangerous. This summer bears have become a frequent sight across Anchorage, raising concerns among the city's homeless population.
People who live in homeless camps say they’ve seen bears around Davis Park almost daily. But they say they aren’t concerned with their campsites as much as they are about the children and people who frequently visit the area.
“I’ve been fighting the same bear for almost three years,” said Randall Lorraine, who camps by Davis Park.
Lorraine has been living in camps in the woods by the area for a couple of years now -- but he says he’s never seen as much bear activity in the area as he has this summer.
“It’s far worse then the last two years, and they were pretty bad,” Lorraine said.
Lorraine and his dog Ginger have jumped from campsite to campsite a lot this year, because he says bears have attacked each new site one after another.
“Nothing scares them,” said James Hood, another person who camps in the area. “I’ve had four tents the bear has destroyed just this year.”
But for Hood, it’s not so much about the bears ripping through his home as it is about the dozens of kids who play in the area. Many residents have seen a black bear sow and two cubs in town over the summer, including frequent June sightings in the city's U-Med district.
“I don’t mind the bears, but I’m getting the feeling that she’s going to end up hurting somebody sooner or later and that’s what I’m worried about,” Hood said.
Officials with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game say it’s not uncommon for black bears to be seen in urban areas this time of year. They said they won’t intervene unless bears show aggression towards humans.
But for those living in the woods by Davis Park think that if something isn’t done about the bears soon, it could be too late.
“Everyone thinks it’s funny, what they don’t realize that it’s got three cubs on the other side of her, and if you make her mad she’s going to go right through you -- especially with kids with backpacks full of food,” Hood said.
According to the state, the Municipality of Anchorage has between 250 to 350 black bears. Although it may seem like common sense, Fish and Game advise that if you spot a bear, simply keep a safe distance between you and the bear.