News

Go directly to jail

black bear

Alaska black bear/Alaska Department of Fish and Game photo

The latest victim of an Alaska bear attack has been jailed.

 

Anchorage Police identified her as 58-year-old Christine Chalp, who was in a tent jumped by a bear in Alaska’s largest city on the Fourth of July.

And that’s just the beginning of this strange story.

Police say they got a report the bear was “on top of a tent, possibly with a person inside,” in the city’s Centennial Park early on the morning of July 4. There is a campground near the north edge of the park, but it doesn’t appear Chalp was in the campground.

Police reports indicate she was camped out in the woods on the southern edge of the park.

When officers went to investigate the reported bear attack, they found “a crumpled tent with a sleeping bag inside,” but nothing else, according to their reports.

“The black bear had left the scene,” they reported. “Food and trash were scattered around the tent. Officers attempted verbal contact without success.”

Finally, they “poked” the tent and sleeping bag, and, they said, “Chalp poked her head out. She told officers she was playing dead to prevent the bear from harming her. She said she wasn’t injured.”

Playing dead is a recommended tactic for those attacked by grizzly bears. It is not recommended for black bears. People who have played dead around black bears have been eaten. The state has had two deadly black bear attacks this year.

Police reported that after they made sure Chalp was OK, they ran her through their computer and “discovered Chalp had a misdemeanor failure to appear warrant for disorderly conduct. She was arrested and remanded to the Anchorage Jail.”

At least, she will be safe from bears there.

“Chalp was also cited for feeding of game due to the food and trash in the area and failure to appear” in court on other charges, police said.

Those charges just added to the problems facing Chalp, who last September legally changed her name from the earlier Tina Chaffin. Alaska court records indicate Chaffin/Chalp already owes the Municipality of Anchorage thousands of dollars in unpaid fines dating back to the 1990s.

Tough life

She is not, however, the first person to find it difficult to live in Anchorage parks home to a healthy population of bears.

Only two years ago, a homeless man living in a tent camp in the same area used a home-made spear to kill a yearling black bear that had been raiding camps there along with a cooperative sow that was apparently its mother. The nature of the confrontation, which harkened back to pre-White contact when the spear was the only tool the first Alaskans had to defend themselves against bears, made national news.

“After several encounters with the animals, the homeless people staying in the six-tent camp were becoming increasingly worried about their safety,” Peter Holley wrote in the Washington Post.  “One of the camp’s members — a 49-year-old father named David Tandler — decided to take action before the animals had a chance to harm his children.”

Tandler fashioned a tree branch into a shaft for a spear and duct-taped a machete to the end of the shaft.

“After he spotted a 1½-year-old bear cub was (sic) sniffing near a tent with someone inside, he attacked. ‘So he threw the spear and killed it,'” Holley wrote, quoting area wildlife biologist Dave Battle with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Battle expressed surprise the spear killed the bear and noted the state does not recommend taking on bears with spears. The bear killing was, however, ruled a legitimate defense of life and property (DLP) killing. Alaska laws specifically allows for DLP kills of dangerous animals.

But Tandler, like Chaffin/Chalp, was cited for illegally feeding wildlife because of all the garbage the bears had been getting into in the camp area. The attack sped city efforts to get illegal camps out of the woods.

Unfortunately, the problems with bears feeding on trash, dog food, bird seed and other edibles is not limited to homeless camps in Anchorage.

Police were this week warning residents citywide that  it is “against the law to leave food and trash out in such a way it attracts wildlife, such as bears. Secure all garbage and other items, such as BBQ grills and fish guts (innards). Keep your yard clean. Use electronic fences for all livestock such as chickens and bee hives. Be a good steward of your community and encourage your neighbors to do the same.”

Anchorage has bear problems every summer, but there have been more than usual this year. Along with the young hiker who was killed by a black bear just southeast of the city after a mountain run, a mountain biker was attacked and injured by a grizzly bear just north of the city.

Three hikers were injured when attacked by a grizzly bear in the Eagle River bedroom community just outside of the city. A black bear barreled into a child’s room and quickly out on the Anchorage Hillside. And about a half dozen bears have now been killed in defense of life and property.

 

 

Advertisements

7 replies »

  1. Under 5 AAC 92.230. Feeding of game (a) Except as provided in (b) of this section or under the terms of a permit issued by the department, a person may not
    (1) negligently feed a moose, deer, elk, sheep, bear, wolf, coyote, fox, wolverine, or deleterious exotic wildlife, or negligently leave human food, animal food, mineral supplements, or garbage in a manner that attracts these animals;
    (2) intentionally feed a moose, deer, elk, sheep, bear, wolf, coyote, fox, wolverine, or deleterious exotic wildlife, or intentionally leave human food, animal food, mineral supplements, or garbage in a manner that attracts these animals.
    (b) The prohibitions described in (a) of this section do not apply to the use of bait for trapping furbearers or deleterious exotic wildlife, or hunting bears under 5 AAC 92.044, or hunting wolf, fox, or wolverine with bait as described in 5 AAC 92.210, and elsewhere under 5 AAC 84 – 5 AAC 92.

    This is the regulation that is used to issue citation to those in Anchorage and the greater area, who leave trash in their yards.

    So why doesn’t AWT and ADF&G write citations to the Anchorage landfill? it attracts bears with its”negligently” garbage/trash practises. the regulation does not exempt landfills operators from negligently feeding game.
    who is responsible for the dumpster at Chinta? i have seen bears there too. what about the grizzlies that have been reported at O’Brain creek, feeding on fish carrasses that were removed from the kill site, to cleaning tables, Is this a violation of feeding game? Could it also be a littering violation?

    So again, it would seem to me Anchorage area persons are being selected out and are really the only people being consistently found out of compliance with this regulation.

    Like

  2. The Dept should consider killing all Black bears near and in Anchorage where there is development. Bears are pretty savvy about knowing where it is not safe for them. And there are plenty of them so killing a few dozen will not have any conservation impact. If a person has the right to build a home and or live in Anchorage that person should not have to forego a bird feeder or not grow food plots. It is just common sense to have an animal (dog?) proof garbage container so it makes sense to require garbage be policed. And we should not have to worry about the safety of our kids if we live in our home in the city. So ADF&G, start eradicating them now before we have another needless tragedy

    Like

  3. While I agree that there is a Major problem of trash in and around places homeless people gather. I Know this as the “Locals” who hang around the Dimond Walmart leave plenty of waste behind when they vacate (trash as well as feces). But How in good conscience can we penalize them when the State Allows for bear hunters to Purposely leave food out to Attract bears-Cognitive dissonance or just hypocrisy?

    Like

  4. Just another regulation/city ordinance that is poorly written. If Craig reported it correctly “against the law to leave food and trash out in such a way it attracts wildlife, such as bears.

    How can anyone in this area comply with such a broad and interpretative ordinance? “leave food that does not attached wildlife”
    Frist of all.wildlife is defined in statue

    AS 16.05.940 (19) “game” means any species of bird, reptile, and mammal, including a feral domestic animal, found or introduced in the state, except domestic birds and mammals; and game may be classified by regulation as big game, small game, fur bearers or other categories considered essential for carrying out the intention and purposes of AS 16.05 – AS 16.40;

    with that in mind if you plant a garden, grow flowers,have spruce trees/cones lying around the yard, ect. all these food sources attract game. not everyone keeps a clean house inside, and even if you do, voles and mice (game) are “attracted” to your house looking for food. you get my point.

    So it would seem if AWT/ city authorities are only enforcing the city ordinance/ regulation 5 AAC 92.230 when it attracts bears. not any other game. Such as foxes, coyotes and moose. when clearly 5 AAC 92.230. Feeding of game.has many other animals that apply but are not enforced.

    5 AAC 92.230. Feeding of game (a) Except as provided in (b) of this section or under the terms of a permit issued by the department, a person may not
    (1) negligently feed a moose, deer, elk, sheep, bear, wolf, coyote, fox, wolverine, or deleterious exotic wildlife, or negligently leave human food, animal food, mineral supplements, or garbage in a manner that attracts these animals;
    (2) intentionally feed a moose, deer, elk, sheep, bear, wolf, coyote, fox, wolverine, or deleterious exotic wildlife, or intentionally leave human food, animal food, mineral supplements, or garbage in a manner that attracts these animals.
    (b) The prohibitions described in (a) of this section do not apply to the use of bait for trapping furbearers or deleterious exotic wildlife, or hunting bears under 5 AAC 92.044, or hunting wolf, fox, or wolverine with bait as described in 5 AAC 92.210, and elsewhere under 5 AAC 84 – 5 AAC 92.

    I guess my point is: “you have equal protection under the law, but you do not have equal enforcement under the law”.

    Like

    • oh, i don’t know Allen. i know there was some attempt at equal enforcement when Rick Sinnott was the area wildlife bio, because i know a guy who called Rick about bear problems only to have Rick come out, find garbage cans sitting out accessible in his yard, and cite him. now, as to whether ADF&G is still doing that, i don’t know. there are more than a few Hillside residents who could or should be cited for leaving their bird feeders out all summer. those things are black bear magnets.

      Like

      • Did Rick Sinnott cite people for planting/growing young saplings,shrubs, or cabbages? they are great moose attractors.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s