Juneau Nature

Natural & cultural history of Juneau & Southeast Alaska

Juneau Nature - Natural & cultural history of Juneau & Southeast Alaska


Keeping us honest

Black and brown bear

April 1st, 2014. (but not a prank, I promise)

Empty (but nice-smelling?) can, sampled by a black bear. A youngster, judging from the canine-separation.

The first robins are chirping on Behrends Avenue, and it’s time to start taking precautions for the sake of those lovely furry things that tip over garbage containers in the middle of the night.

At a recent Discovery staff meeting, I learned that nobody but Steve Merli and me remembered a classic little booklet we wrote with Ronalda Cadiente (Teikweidí) in the first years of Dzanti’ki Héeni middle school. We interviewed all of Juneau’s most knowledgeable wildlife biologists and managers, distilling their western insight and the elders’ wisdom into a cross-cultural 40-pager on people and bears.

Old Discovery classic reformatted and available as pdf.

The digital original–if it even exists–would be on unreadable floppy disks. So I scanned a copy, ran optical character recognition, and converted it into a 3.5-meg pdf.

Download here. pdf-logo

Anything you write about subjects as intensively studied as Ursus arctos & americanus is bound to look a little dated after a couple decades. But I was pleased to see as I reformatted our little bear booklet that it’s aged rather well. Ronalda’s interpretation of The Woman who married the Bear is of course timeless. If I could update one section it would be the charts showing incident reports from the police and Fish & Game.

Hey, that would make a great science fair project for a student in 2014-15 . . .

Enjoy, and be nice to our wild neighbors.  RC

Black bears in Tracy Arm

Goldbelt Heritage held their summer-camp cruise in late July this year, running all the way up Tracy Arm to the glaciers. We saw several black bears foraging in the barnacle zone, not because it’s great habitat but because that’s about their only choice in this hungry country.

blackbear-on-granitics from Richard Carstensen on Vimeo.


I guess the fact that this sow still had 3 cubs in late July indicates that the country’s not as stark as it looks for a competent omnivore.