KODIAK, Alaska — Several Kodiak residents have reported seeing bears in town throughout the past few weeks, and at least one area expert believes that’s because of a lackluster berry crop this year.

Although the state Department of Fish and Game hasn’t received a higher-than-normal number of reported bear sightings, area wildlife biologist Nathan Svoboda believes a berry crop failure might have something to do with the encounters, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Wednesday.

In years when the berry crop fails, bears become nutritionally stressed and might be more prone to strolling into town, Svoboda said.

“Bears are opportunists,” he said. “It’s getting really close to the time that they should be denning up for the winter. So, right now they’re just putting on that extra weight before the den. The bears aren’t going to stick around. They don’t want to be around people any more than people want to be around them.”

Svoboda’s advice is to remove anything that could tempt bears. He also said that people should alert authorities if they encounter a bear, not just post to social media.

“We don’t have the time or permission to monitor social media sites,” he said. “So, it’s important that people report bear sightings to Fish and Game or the Troopers.”

Information from: Kodiak (Alaska) Daily Mirror, http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com