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Alaskan rancher says bears have claimed 30 of his cows

KODIAK, Alaska — A rancher on Kodiak Island said bears have killed more than 30 of his cows this year.

Kodiak residents said the level of bear activity on the road system in recent weeks seems higher than usual, resulting in broken fences and scattered garbage, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Monday.

Rancher Chris Flickinger said the number of his animals killed by bears is way above average and has hit him hard financially. Over the last two weeks bears have killed a cow, a bull and two calves at his property near Pasagshak, he said.

“It’s hugely significant,” Flickinger said. “It’s definitely a pretty big loss.”

Bulls are worth up to $1,500 while some cows are valued up to $2,000, he said.

Flickinger said he tries to scare bears away when encounters them but was forced to shoot one more than a year ago.

Under state law, killing a bear is permissible if done as a last resort in “defense of your life or property.”

If a person did not provoke the bear, or “cause a problem by negligently leaving human or pet food or garbage in a manner that attracts bears,” shooting might be allowed, according to the state Department of Fish and Game.

People with animals or property damaged by bears should report it so there will be a record of problems with aggressive bears, said Nathan Svoboda, a biologist with the state Department of Fish and Game. If a bear is shot, that string of evidence should help show the action was warranted, he said.

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