Mangled Car Prompts Reminder of Bear Awareness

A Sterling, Alaska, man’s mangled vehicle has prompted a reminder that bears are up and about.

A brown bear tore off a side-view mirror on Norm Israelson’s Subaru, smashed a taillight and rear window, ripped off the back windshield wiper and shoved the car eight inches in the gravel driveway. Muddy claw marks were on the car windows, according to the Peninsula Clarion. Israelson discovered the damage Monday.

Israelson said the attack could have occurred as he watched TV Sunday night with the volume turned up or it could have happened as he slept.

“It would have been a lot more exciting if I had woke up and caught him in the act,” Israelson said.

State area wildlife biologist Jeff Selinger collected samples at the scene.

Selinger said it’s that time of year when bears are leaving their dens and people should begin bear-proofing their homes and thinking about wilderness safety.

Odors from things like fish, bird feed and garbage can attract bears to neighborhoods, Selinger said.

The trick is to ensure no food is available. Otherwise, it becomes a reward for a bear’s efforts.

“We’re going to have odors, but if they get there and had no food reward, they won’t come back as frequently,” Selinger said.

As for venturing into the wilderness, people should employ safety measures, such as traveling in groups and making noise, he said.