Alaskan city invaded by multi-colored bears A life-size, fiberglass bear statue painted as a birch forest stands in front of a business, All About You Medical Spa, on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Dan Joling)
Alaskan city invaded by multi-colored bears
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Alaska's largest city is home to more than 300 grizzly and black bears - and now more than a dozen multicolored ones.
 
Life-size statues painted by city artists for a public art installation called "Bears on Parade" are popping up as part of an effort to raise awareness that if you live in Anchorage, you live near bears.
 
"The whole point of this was to engage in conversation about bears and their habitat - the food that they eat, where they live," said Brenda Carlson. She is a tourism official who helped organize the program.
 
Anchorage is a city that spans 1,958 square miles. People occupy only about 204 square miles, according to the state Department of Fish and Game. The rest of Anchorage includes national forest, a state wildlife refuge, 55 to 65 grizzlies and 250 to 350 black bears.
 
Bears can be deadly if they are surprised. The department's Anchorage Bear Committee, which is dedicated to bear conservation, tries to educate people about how to live alongside the animals.
 
"Not all bears eat salmon," said Carlson, also a committee member. "Some eat berries, depending on where they are. We really wanted it to spark conversation about the bears."
 
The panel wanted to coordinate the installation of statues with a summer conference of 700 international bear scientists. They were brought to Anchorage by the International Association for Bear Research & Management.
 
Carlson reached out to America's Fiberglass Animals of Seward, Nebraska. The organization has helped create more than 300 public art projects with fiberglass sculptures.
 
Fifteen bears arrived by flatbed truck looking like polar bears - completely white. Sponsors paid either $1,750 or $3,000 for bears. So far, 13 have been painted, sealed and erected.
 
Artists received loose instructions. The adornment had to be family-friendly. And it had to reflect the beauty of Alaska, Carlson said.
 
One bear has a birch forest painted on its side. Others are painted with rivers, wildflowers or the northern lights. A bear sponsored by an ice cream shop has a tongue that appears to be licking ice cream off its face.
 
"I love that tongue," Carlson said, and it could fit into the theme of what a bear should not eat - human food.
 
"Make sure your trash is put away, because that trash bear will be a problem," she said.
 
The statues arrived too late for the early summer bear conference, but some scientists will benefit. The committee is donating nearly $8,000 from statue sponsorships to the next conference to cover scientists' expenses.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why are the life-sized statues brightly colored, instead of brown or black?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (23)
  • bkyle-dav
    9/21/2016 - 07:02 p.m.

    In response to "Alaskan city invaded by multi-colered bears," I agree people should be aware of living with bears. One reason I agree is that when the artists put up the colored bears,they did look beutiful, but also says an important message about the awarness of bears. Another reason is that instead of just making scary bears, they also put the beauties of Alaska on it. It says in the article "Bears can be deadly if they are surprised. The department's Anchorage Bear Committee, which is dedicated to bear conservation, tries to educate people about how to live alongside the animals," I think it is good for them to notify people about this so they dont get attacked by a bear. A third reason I agree is that Alaska is a state wildlife refuge, 55 to 65 grizzlies and 250 to 350 black bears. Even though there are tons of bears and their are probably tons of bear attack, I think that these sculptures are very important because they are beutiful and they tell people to be aware of bears.

  • olivial-orv
    9/21/2016 - 07:46 p.m.

    This article is super cool, I can't believe that they thought of this. I think that seeing these painted bears around Alaska will remind people about how we don't own the earth and that there are other things living besides us and that we need to take cautions to make sure that these animals stay safe and that we stay safe by picking up our garbage.

  • kirstenw-pav
    9/22/2016 - 09:57 a.m.

    The idea of painted bear statues in Alaska is amazing because it's part of an effort to raise awareness for bear habitats and their safety. This is important because bears are becoming less and less populated and someone needs to start doing something.

  • nataliak-pav
    9/22/2016 - 10:01 a.m.

    I think it is great how many people are embracing their Knowledge about bears. Now that there are sculptures of these bears they will not only help educate others about bears, but it will also help others feel more comfortable around bears.

  • fmadison-dav
    9/22/2016 - 06:35 p.m.

    I think it is really cool that Alaska made statues of bears. One reason I think this because it shows that Alaskans care a lot about their state and the wildlife that live there. A second reason I think this is because it helps people think about animals and the wildlife in other places. It says in the article "the whole point of this was to engage conversation about bears." A third reason is that it helps people learn about wildlife and what harms them and what helps them. Overall I think the painted bears are a great idea.

  • hcameron-dav
    9/22/2016 - 08:29 p.m.

    I think its a little weird that people make life statues of bears and put them all over the city but its pretty cool because all of the art and designs the artists paint on them.

  • rlillian-dav
    9/22/2016 - 08:53 p.m.

    In response to, "Alaskan City Invaded by Multi-colored Bears," I agree that this a really neat idea. I find it amazing that people are being educated about the bears they live so close to. One reason I think this is a wonderful idea is that in the text, the author writes, " Sponsors paid either $1,750 or $3,000 for the bears." This shows that the work really paid off and that people are able to help the bears out with funds. The article also says, "The committee is donating nearly $8,000 from statue sponsorships to the next conference to cover scientists' expenses." This shows that the money is for a good cause, so I have every reason to support that. Even though they seem a bit pricey, the money is put towards something good.

  • cbrooke-dav
    9/22/2016 - 09:31 p.m.

    In response to "Alaska city invaded by multi-colored bears," I agree that more people should know about bears and what they can do. One reason I agree is that I wouldn't want to see any of the bears of humans getting hurt. Another reason is that when you live around bears you should just know. It says in the article that there are up to 55 to 65 grizzlies and 250 to 350 black bears." . A third reason is that it is nice to know what they are doing with the bears and what kinds of projects they are doing to that involve bears. Even though this event was a lot of money, I think that it was really awesome and cool that they did this and they should do it again.

  • crowan-dav
    9/22/2016 - 09:50 p.m.

    This article inspires me a lot. Bears and other nature lives are important. Its really cool how they painted the fiberglass bears and how they donate all that money. In the third paragraph it says, "The whole point of this was to engage in conversation about bears and their habitat - the food that they eat, where they live,". Though it is very expensive to get and paint a bear, it would be super cool to have one of these in my yard, in my neighborhood, or just to see one!

  • calaina-dav
    9/24/2016 - 02:59 p.m.

    In response to "Alaskan city invaded by multi-colored bears", I agree that people in Anchorage, Alaska should take notice to how to live with bears. One reason I agree is that, according to the article there are "...55 to 65 grizzlies and 250 to 350 black bears" in Anchorage, and if there are that many bears in your area, you had better get used to it. Another reason is that in the article, it stated that, "A bear sponsored by an ice cream shop has a tongue that appears to be licking ice cream off its face."I love that tongue," Carlson said, and it could fit into the theme of what a bear should not eat - human food.", and Carlson is totally right, bears, or any other type of animal, shouldn't be eating human food, like ice cream. My final reason is that the bears are meant for one purpose, ""The whole point of this was to engage in conversation about bears and their habitat - the food that they eat, where they live,"" We humans (some of us, at least) don't care about the environment, and may think it's okay to just drop your trash wherever you want. But it's not okay, some animals may think that your trash is food, and try to eat it, but instead, they may die from it. Or, some may think hat it's okay to feed wild animals the junk food that we may not eat, but it's called "junk food" for a reason, because it's not good, and, we humans technically shouldn't be eating it either. Even though some people may disagree with me and say " The environment is fine!", or, " We shouldn't be wasting our time on other animals!", I believe that we should take note on the damage we are causing, bit by bit, and help others to recognize it too.

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