There exists a marked increase in bear sightings and break-ins around the Tahoe basin. Calls to the BEAR League have more than doubled from previous years and some bear experts are citing the Angora Fire as the reason.
Numerous bears were displaced and their movements, as they search for inhabitable territory, displace other smaller and less defensive bears. Incoming younger and homeless bears have certainly affected the North/West Shores of Tahoe.
As this past winter was mild and most of the creeks and streams have already run dry, the bears must be close to the lake in order to drink, find food, and cool off. So residents will likely see bears in areas where they may previously have never had a bear encounter before.
The best way to avoid problems is to make the grounds and home inhospitable (no birdfeeders, birdbaths, open kitchen windows or picnic baskets left unattended) and to pose a threat to any bear attempting to feel “at home” by yelling or paint-balling him. There have been several reports of bears resting under decks and building “day-beds” in yards, as they have no place else to go where they feel safe and can find water.
Several reports came in regarding a resident feeding bears in It is illegal to feed bears or to allow them access to garbage. It is also irresponsible and causes problems for the bears and all people living nearby.
A large bag of garbage was thrown out of a car in at the intersection of River Road and Highway 89. Only a few moments passed before a bear found the meal and began to dine by the side of the busy highway. It is recommended that people use the intelligence they were allegedly blessed with to properly dispose of trash and not feed the bears.
A new and inexperienced second homeowner called to ask for advice regarding repeated entries into his vacation cabin in The house is over 75 years old and the windows and doors have no locks and can be easily opened. The previous owner installed a bear-proof food storage locker in the cellar under the cabin and kept all food there, thereby avoiding problems with bears. This new owner has now decided he will begin to use the locker rather than clean up a mess each time he arrives for the weekend. (His first thought was to have the bear killed but he was informed that another bear would quickly move into the vacated area and resume the behavior.)
Several homes have been entered in this past week. Recent past records show numerous reports of garbage left out by visitors or residents and the foreseeable, resultant attraction to bears into the community was not unexpected. A young bear has gone into empty homes and will return to the same home the next night and attempt to gain entry even if the residents are now present and are inside sleeping. As soon as he realizes a person is turning on lights or making noise he runs off.
is the hardest hit area when it comes to bear break-ins. A smaller mother with two very young cubs are smashing down doors at empty homes or where residents are on vacation. One family returned from a week away to find all three bears inside their home. The kitchen was completely destroyed and considerable damage was done to the carpets and other interior furnishings. The bear family has returned numerous times in hopes of coming back in.
Sheriff’s deputies and the BEAR League have responded to calls for assistance from almost every homeowner in this neighborhood. Several residents are firing paintball guns to successfully discourage the bears from coming close to their homes. The mother is dark brown with a round white mark on her chest. She usually trees the cubs and so their presence might not be initially evident.