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Nuisance bear damages septic pipes, digs in lawns

Cate Gomez / KDLG

It’s not uncommon for bears to get into garbage or smoke shacks around Dillingham, but this weekend in Neqleq subdivision a bear took a surprising interest in something else.

Standing by a dug-up pipe in his backyard, resident Kevin Tennyson described the damage to his and neighbors’ properties early Sunday morning. 

“It doesn’t go through garbage like a normal bear, or fish guts," Tennyson said. "It’s going for… siding pipes for the sewer, and fuel lines for the heating.”

Credit Shannon Clouse
Shannon Clouse snapped this photo of the bear as it investigated her family's yard on its way through the neighborhood. Several families in the area reported damage from the bear.

Ignoring garbage cans and even a chicken coop, the bear instead damaged septic pipes and dug in the lawns of subdivision residents as it wandered through the area. Local business owner Sherry Christensen, whose home and business in the neighborhood both experienced damage from the bear, expressed worries about the unwanted visitor.

“I’m very concerned because we have a lot of little children and pets in the neighborhood,” Christensen said. “You never know if [bears are] going to try and get into someone’s house.

On Monday, a biologist with the Department of Fish and Game said this behavior isn’t unheard of from what they believe to be a juvenile bear. The biologist said that if it’s not rewarded with food, the bear will hopefully move on soon before it needs to be killed or captured.