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
Lexile

Alaska's largest city is home to more than 300 grizzly and black bears. And now, there are 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. They are part of an effort to raise awareness. They want people to know 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. She helped organize the program.
 
Anchorage is a city that spans 1,958 square miles. People occupy only about 204 square miles. That is according to the state Department of Fish and Game. The rest of Anchorage includes a national forest. It also includes a state wildlife refuge and 55 to 65 grizzlies and 250 to 350 black bears.
 
Bears can be deadly if they are surprised. The department's Anchorage Bear Committee is dedicated to bear conservation. The committee tries to educate people about how to live alongside the animals.
 
"Not all bears eat salmon," said Carlson. She is 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. It is located in Seward, Nebraska. The organization has helped create more than 300 public art projects with fiberglass sculptures.
 
Fifteen bears arrived by flatbed truck. They looked like polar bears. They were 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. It appears to be licking ice cream off its face.
 
"I love that tongue," Carlson said. 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 (14)
  • katylync-coo-coo
    9/22/2016 - 09:10 a.m.

    It brings out more colors of the Bears. And brown and black bears are just plain ugly colors. They want to bring the colors out of the Bears instead of having the look mean.

  • arronn-coo
    9/22/2016 - 09:31 a.m.

    Bears are dark colored and statues are brightly. Statues are brightly colored because so you can see the statues. The statues are life size because so the bears can see the statues.

  • stephenn-coo
    9/22/2016 - 09:31 a.m.

    The life-sized statues brightly colored, instead of brown or black they are part of an effort to raise awareness. They want people to know bears live in Anchorage.

  • kiral-jen
    9/30/2016 - 11:21 a.m.

    I think they are brightly colored so they stand out and tell a story or say something.

  • sinclaire-hym
    10/03/2016 - 02:26 p.m.

    The life-sized statues are brightly colored because they are part of an effort to raise awareness and they want people to know that if you live near an Anchorage you live near bears.

  • jacob1-hym
    10/03/2016 - 02:32 p.m.

    Because they do not want people to think that it is really.

  • milan-hym
    10/03/2016 - 02:42 p.m.

    Maybe the artist that made the colorful bears want to be more crateav so people want to look at these colorful bear statues.

  • brooklyn-hym
    10/03/2016 - 02:44 p.m.

    The life sized statuses are brightly colors instead of brown or black because it is a part an effort to raise awareness.So people know that the bears live in anchorage

  • samantha-hym
    10/03/2016 - 02:44 p.m.

    It is because there fear is black or brown

  • viktor-hym
    10/03/2016 - 02:48 p.m.

    It brings out colors of the bears.brown and black just plain ugly colors.They want to bring the colors of the bears instead of having them look mean.

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