Special to the Sierra Sun
Thankfully, many of our bears are building dens and some are already asleep for the winter. In investigating the forest, BEAR League personnel have observed numerous natural winter den sites either under construction or already containing a sleepy bruin. This does not mean we can let our guard down and be careless with food and garbage. It is a good sign and it is inarguable that everyone in the will be relieved to have them tucked in and finally behaving as well as sleeping children. This has been a difficult season, by far the worst on record. Our bears drew international media attention and, though not flattering for being ‘good citizens,’certainly showed the world how intelligent and determined they are. The bears have learned how to recognize an empty house as a probable and very rewarding foraging opportunity.
Well over 150 of our bears were killed by various legal, illegal or accidental means, but the problem did not diminish. It is the responsibility of every homeowner, present or absentee, to do whatever is necessary to keep the bears from entering our homes. One important aspect of living or owning property in Bear Country is to remember there are bears close by who hope to take advantage of us ” knowing where we reside there is usually food.
The bear is a native species in California and will never legally be removed from this natural wilderness, as much as some wish they would, so we humans have to step up to the plate and use our theorized higher intelligence in order to outsmart them.
Right now everyone should be checking their under-house crawl space accesses to be certain there is no ‘welcome sign’ left for a bear to move on in for the winter. The BEAR League has already been called out several times to wake up and move sleeping bears who easily entered through an unlatched or missing door and found the perfect spot to spend the winter. They appreciate the dark, dry, and quiet hospitality our crawl spaces offer. The problem is these are our dens. The bears may not be allowed to cross that boundary line. They also ‘redecorate’ after they move in. This includes removing or wrecking heat ducts, water lines and telephone wires.
The BEAR League asks homeowners never attempt to encourage a bear to move out once he has taken up residence without expert assistance. The bear could become territorial or may have cubs. The only agencies who have the equipment, expertise and experience to move bears from under homes are the BEAR League, Sheriff’s Office, Police Department and Animal Control. There is no charge for this service. All four agencies work together to assure the safety of the homeowner and the bears.
If a property owner believes a bear may be preparing to take up residence under the house (or is already asleep) it is best to call for help immediately. It is much easier to convince the bears to move out before the dead of winter and before tiny new cubs are born. Please help your neighbor, who may have left the area for the season, by checking his house for openings. Every winter the BEAR League is called several times a week, all winter long, to evict sleeping bears. Once they are awake and if they find food, the party begins and they are up and running for the duration. Let’s not let that happen this year.
We believe we are smarter than bears. Let’s see if we can prove it. Scientists all over the world are studying these animals. The bears are proving to possess amazing intelligence. It’s time we realize they are brilliantly evolved beings ” not pests we should be attempting to exterminate. Then, and only then, will we stand a chance of outwitting them.
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