Bear reports average in Tahoe Basin |

Bear reports average in Tahoe Basin

LAKE TAHOE ” Wildlife officials say they have dealt with an average number of bears so far in 2009 ” but that doesn’t mean visitors and residents should become more lax about bear awareness.

“In the late spring you want to be especially diligent because this is the time when the bears can become very habituated to your location,” said Jason Holley, a wildlife biologist with California Fish and Game. “If the bears get too friendly now they can stay all summer.”

One thing that may help keep bear-human encounters down this summer is the early May rainstorm that poured about 3.5 inches of water into the Lake Tahoe Basin, said Carl Lackey, a biologist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

That precipitation ” which put May 2009 as the fifth wettest May in the past 100 years ” should keep the bears’ food in the forest, such as berries and other forage, at sufficient levels this summer, he said.

So far NDOW has captured and released four bears in 2009.

“We’re slightly below, but people shouldn’t let their guards down,” he said.

Some ways to stay bear aware include:

– Never approach or feed a bear, or any other wild animal for that matter.

– Use removable bird feeders for temporary placement.

– Keep pet food cleaned up, or indoors.

– Keep a close watch on children while they are outdoors, and teach them what to do if they encounter a bear.

– Use bear-proof garbage containers available through commercial dealers. Dumpsters with lockable metal lids work well, as do fencing enclosures made of chain link fencing or 2 x 4 framing.

– Spray or pour ammonia in and around garbage cans, and avoid placing aromatic food wastes, such as bacon grease or spoiled foods, in garbage cans.

– Wait until the morning of pick-up before placing garbage out.

– Feed pets indoors.

– Clean barbeque grills after use.

– Use electrical fencing combined with a tall, metal or wooden fence to protect orchards, fish ponds, beehives, compost piles, and livestock.

– Constant harassment with scare devices, loud noises or dogs will sometimes work.

– Don’t Feed Wildlife. The feeding of any wildlife, including birds, may inadvertently attract bear.

If you spot a bear that is getting into trash or is in danger please call (775) 688-BEAR. If you have any safety concerns don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1.

Below are statistics provided by the Nevada Department of Wildlife, regarding black bear sightings in and around the Nevada side of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

357: The number of complaints and reports of bears.

55 percent: the number of calls in the late summer.

24 percent: the number of calls in the early spring.

32: the number of bear deaths recorded.

6: the number of bears euthanized after the three-strike rule.

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