Alaskan city invaded by multi-colored bears
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, a tourism official who helped organize the program.
Anchorage is a city spans 1,958 square miles, but 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. To minimize maulings, 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 brought to Anchorage by the International Association for Bear Research & Management.
Carlson reached out to America's Fiberglass Animals of Seward, Nebraska, which 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 reflect the beauty of Alaska, Carlson said.
One bear has a birch forest painted on its side, while 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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Why are the life-sized statues brightly colored, instead of brown or black?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • jacklynt-ste
    9/22/2016 - 01:18 p.m.

    In Anchorage, Alaska multi-colored bears a showing up to educate people that bears are in the area. Bears can be deadly and by these fake bears they also educate people about their habitat and what the bears eat.I think that it is a really good idea about spreading awareness about bears.

  • kaileew-ste
    9/22/2016 - 01:31 p.m.

    Anchorage is a city that spans 1,958 square miles but only 204 of those square miles are occupied by people. The rest is made up of forests consisting 55-65 grizzly bears and 250-350 black bears. The Anchorage Bear Committee tries to educate people on how to live alongside animals.

  • sydneys-cel
    9/23/2016 - 09:56 a.m.

    The bears are colored from the Northern lights. This idea was brought up to raise awareness for the bears.

  • piersonw-cel
    9/23/2016 - 10:22 a.m.

    Anchorage, Alaska is home to more than 300 grizzly and black bears. The city spans 1,958 square miles but, humans only use 204 square miles. Statues of bears painted by local artists for a public art installation called "Bears on Parade." It's an effort to raise awareness that the people of Anchorage live near bears.

  • irisp-ste
    9/26/2016 - 09:24 a.m.

    The life-sized bear statues were created to be an artistic expression for each artist to customize rather than the usual, real-life black or brown bear. The replicas are intriguing, creative, and some individuals may find them quite beautiful. Each place they are located may represent a different meaning, and holds a special purpose.

  • sams-pav
    9/26/2016 - 09:55 a.m.

    There should be a show called Bear Week and not Shark Week. I watched Shark Week and now if a shark bites me I am READY. The only time I've ever seen a bear is that one time a mother was running and she saw a bear running beside her. That was fun. The police came and the bear had to be taken in and my sister's picture got in the paper. The news editors made it seem like the first who saw the bear but it was literally taken on a trashy kodak camera like one hour after it happened.

  • jacobp-stu
    9/29/2016 - 01:06 p.m.

    The bears are different colors to make people think about the bears what they eat and how to stay safe from them.

  • pilarj-cel
    9/29/2016 - 09:06 p.m.

    The Anchorage Bear Committee came up with the idea to have artists paint the sculptors of bears so that it would bring an interest towards the people of Alaska. This way they would be more interested in learning about living alongside grizzly and black bears.

  • noahr-ste
    10/14/2016 - 12:46 p.m.

    The bears are colored by the northern lights idea. It is to raise awareness in the area of Anchorage, Alaska to make them understand how to live alongside bears. It is very smart to do this so the people know bears live with them and they live with bears.

  • peytonc-man
    11/03/2016 - 09:25 a.m.

    I think this is a great idea to raise awareness for the bears and to teach the young kids early about being aware of their surroundings. Some bears are nice and some are really aggressive but that just depends. I also think that making sure your trash is put up, is great too, because bears love to come up to the houses and search for things to eat or to just tear up. Its nice to see this awareness.

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