Living in Alaska is almost like living in the giant zoo. Wildlife roams around even in larger cities, such as Anchorage. When I got here first time, and visited the university, I saw mama moose together with her baby heading toward the university as well. Nicely in a line, on the side of the road. Foxes are frequently seen at our Army base, and a wolf pack or two like the area as well.
We have had black bears raiding neighbors’ garbage cans…. those guys make a huge mess and keep horrible noise at nights. Neighbors then slooooowly learn – when picking up their stuff all over the street – not to take their garbage out until in the morning of the trash pick up day. I have been trail running, and practically run into black bears. Not only once or twice but about a dozen times. Nothing bad has ever happened though. Probably both bear and I have been equally surprised, figured out that it is just a silly runner (or silly bear), and we have gone to our own ways. Of course there are also unlucky, severe accidents with bears. Especially brown bears (aka Grizzly Bear, Ursus arctos) can get aggressive if they are surprised. And obviously all bears protect their cubs, so being in between of mama and baby calls trouble very easily. Last year alone, in May, and July, two people were mauled by the bears in our neighborhood, just a few short miles from our house.
However, bears are gorgeous animals, and with some “bear awareness“, it is safe to enjoy the great outdoors and live in the bear country. We have been observing bears a couple of time in McNeil River Game Sanctuary here in Alaska on photography assignments. You can read more about the 2012 McNeil trip here. Practically we were simply camping in very primitive environment where the bears are roaming free, even through the campground…. so that being said, here you go – enjoy the bear photos!