A rancher on Kodiak Island in Alaska says that bears have killed at least 30 cattle this year from his cow-calf herd.
Rancher Chris Flickinger tells the Kodiak Daily Mirror that bear activity has picked up on the local roads and he is finding more garbage spread out and broken fences. Cattle losses on Flickinger’s ranch are higher than normal with bears killing a cow, a bull and two calves in just the past two weeks. The most recent cattle deaths occurred near Pasagshak, on the eastern edge of the island.
“It’s hugely significant,” Flickinger says. “It’s definitely a pretty big loss.”
Flickinger values his bulls at $1,500 and that some cows are worth up to $2,000. He estimates that approximately 30 cattle have been killed by bears so far this year.
Non-lethal deterrents have been used by Flickinger to scare bears. However, last year he was forced to shoot a bear. Alaskan law does permit bears to be killed if it is the last resort for “defense of your life or property.”
Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game advises people who have livestock or property damaged by bears to report the problem to the agency.
Kodiak Island is the largest island in Alaska and is located 30 miles from the mainland and roughly 250 miles southwest of Anchorage. The island is home to the Kodiak bear, which is one of the largest species of bears in the world with males growing up to 10 feet tall when standing on their hind legs while weighing 1,500 lb. There are approximately 3,500 Kodiak bears on the island, according to the Department of Fish and Game. The bears have a stocking density of about 0.7 bears per square mile on the island.