Bear caught, released near Squaw
November 12, 2008
SQUAW VALLEY ” California wildlife officials who found a bear cub caught in a trap in Squaw Valley Tuesday night released the young bear Wednesday afternoon.
The California Department of Fish and Game, launching a new aversion program in the Tahoe area, released the bear near where it was caught. Department dogs scared the bear up a tree before it was left to find its family.
“We hope that will reinstate a fear of humans and it won’t come around again,” said
Jason Holley, a biologist with Fish and Game. Ann Bryant of the BEAR League said the sight of the 50-pound bear was causing the phone to ring off the hook with concerned residents.
Holley said the aversion tactics are meant to keep bears in nature and away from humans.
“Our whole goal is to keep our bears wild. With aversion we want to get them fearful of humans, and if that works it’s good for the bear and good for us,” Holley said. “But if the bear is too young, it will likely continue to learn to eat garbage.”
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Holley said the Department of Fish and game will be using aversion so they aren’t just moving bears around the Basin, but also teaching them new habits.
“We’ve never done this on a large scale before,” Holley said. But Bryant said she is concerned about how aversion is implemented. “If they move it away and then use aversion then it will be afraid of that spot, not where humans and Dumpsters are,” Bryant said.
And if the bear is released without any aversion, she said it will be marked as a problem bear, likely return, and then killed. Holley said the goal would be to use aversion techniques as close to where the bear was caught as possible, but some times it isn’t practical to let a bear loose where it was caged.