“Living in bear country requires that residents take extra precautions and be ‘Bear Aware,’ ” Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a press release. “At this time of year we see an unfortunate rise in human-wildlife conflicts, and recent encounters in the Lake Tahoe Basin demonstrate that safety and security must be our first priority.”
NDOW has existing urban bear management processes and a “Bear Aware” public education program in place. The department classifies a “dangerous bear” as one that has exhibited aggressive behavior towards humans, or has an unnatural interest in humans without provocation and is perceived to be a threat to public safety or personal property.
NDOW has a three-strike policy for nuisance bears that are found in urban areas but are generally not causing damage or showing aggressive or unusual behavior. In these instances, bears are tranquilized and released. Most of the time these releases take place in the area near where the bear lives but, depending on the circumstance, the bear might be transported to an area outside of their estimated home range. During these releases the department performs aggressive aversion training on the bear to scare them and reduce their level of comfort with humans.
Since Feb. 22, four nuisance bears have been caught by NDOW personnel in the Incline Village and Crystal Bay communities of Lake Tahoe. Significant property damage to houses, cars and a dry-docked boat were reported by property owners. In addition, the bears showed a lack of fear of humans. Three of those bears have been euthanized as dangerous or aggressive and one was caught, given aversive conditioning treatment and released.
“I commend citizens for taking precautions and urge them to continue to be aware,” NDOW Director Ken Mayer said. “This is a public safety issue and continued emphasis on public education and enforcement of bear-proof trash ordinances will help mitigate any issues.”
For more information, visit www.ndow.org.