Bears begin waking up from hibernation, public reminded to be aware of surroundings

 A grizzly and her large cub alongside the Denali Park Road. (National Park Service)
A grizzly and her large cub alongside the Denali Park Road. (National Park Service) (KTVF)
Published: Mar. 31, 2020 at 6:57 PM AKDT
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As temperatures start warming up, bears in Alaska will begin waking up from hibernation. Fairbanks Area Biologist Tony Hollis says this can start in the beginning of April, with bears generally coming out of their dens in mid-April.

"They're pretty lazy at first when they first come out of the den. They don't move around a whole lot. It takes them a little while before they start traveling around, waking their body up, getting their system going again... but then generally they're looking for food once that happens," said Hollis.

He says there are many factors that go into when the bears emerge from hibernation.

“This year we have a lot of snow that can also make them come out earlier. If it starts melting and there’s a lot of water that goes down into the dens, it can wake them up; or if it stays cold, they can stay in a little bit longer. But it’s pretty consistent [that] they come out about mid-April,” said Hollis.

Hollis recommends people take precautions such as cleaning up trash from your yards, and removing anything with a smell that bears might be interested in. Hollis reminds people to be aware of your surroundings, keep an eye out for tracks in the snow and make noise.

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