Juneau has a dumpster-tipping bear

a dumpster
A properly secured dumpster. (Photo courtesy of ADF&G)

A bear near the Juneau airport keeps flipping dumpsters to get trash.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Abby McAllister says she’s not sure how the bear does it.

“Not just opening up the lid, but actually tipping over the entire thing,” she said. “They just keep doing it.”

McAllister says people need to secure their dumpsters. It’s the time of year when bears enter a state of hyperphagia.

That means they’re really hungry. More dumpster-diving — or in this case tipping — is common in the fall, when bears are looking to fatten up before winter.

“Even our leftover pizza or yogurt containers are going to have higher caloric value than berries and even fat salmon, if they can find them this year,” she said.

If waste is secured and unavailable to bears, they’ll go back to looking for natural food sources.

McAllister says bears tend to start hibernating in November, and as late as December. Until then, people in Juneau should be vigilant about securing their trash. If bears continue to find a lot of food that way, they might not go into hibernation on time.

Residents can ask Fish and Game for help with securing their dumpsters by calling 907-465-4265.

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