Bear trapped, killed in Incline |

Bear trapped, killed in Incline

INCLINE VILLAGE ” Nevada Department of Wildlife officials euthanized a bear Wednesday after it was caught in a trap in the Country Club Mall.

The bruin, a dark brown, 5-year-old male, weighed about 400 pounds and was a frequent visitor to the area during the past five weeks, said Nevada Department of Wildlife Biologist Carl Lackey.

Ernie Feld, who owns Ernie’s International Bakery, found the bear in the NDOW trap near his restaurant at 8:30 a.m. Feld routinely fills the trap with goodies to help NDOW. If Feld didn’t bait the trap, Lackey said he would.

Feld’s bait included coconut macaroons, apple strudel and plums.

“He’s an intelligent bear ” he must be if he likes my strudel,” Feld said.

After Lackey arrived on scene around 11:30 a.m. he said the bear was the one NDOW had been looking for. The bear was one of three that have been continuous nuisances in the Incline area.

“We’ve been after this bear for a while,” Lackey said. “We’ve had traps set for about six weeks. He matched the description of a bear who’s been in this area breaking into homes and businesses.

Lackey said the bear also broke into storage at La Fondue nearby and walked in the front door of Feld’s during the day.

“We’ve had several calls about a bear that matches his exact description taking screens off windows to get inside homes and breaking into garages,” Lackey said.

Because the bear has broken into homes Lackey said NDOW euthanized the bear for public safety.

“(Euthanizing a bear) sucks, bottom line … but I’d rather have that than a bear that’s that conditioned to break into a home and inadvertently hurt somebody,” Lackey said.

The bear was killed about 3:30 p.m., he said. Before killing the bear, Lackey took biological samples for research the department is doing on bear behavior.

Lackey stressed that killing a bear is the department’s last form of response.

However Ann Bryant, executive director of the Bear League said killing bears exacerbates the problem.

“Killing doesn’t solve the problem,” Bryant said. “Another bear will just come. How many do we have to sacrifice before people wake up and understand that it is us who are the problem and not the bears?”

Lackey said it is very important for people to become aware that they live in bear country.

“We’re working to educate the public on how to avoid contact with the bears,” he said. “Incline is in a forest, there are always going to be bears. We have to learn how to live with them and tolerate them without inducing a conflict.”

Lackey said one of the things humans are responsible for is to remove the temptations for bears to go into urban areas, like trash and available food.

To further this goal the Incline Village General Improvement District is investigating the area around Country Club Mall, to see what improvements can be made to keep bears away, said IVGID resource conservationist Madonna Dunbar.

“In the past that area has been rather problematic,” Dunbar said. “Since we started working with them they switched to larger bear-proof Dumpsters. They got rid of their regular trash cans and now have bear resistant trash cans. Many of the residents have become very good about locking the Dumpster, but it just takes a couple not participating.”

Specifically, Dunbar said IVGID compliance staff is looking into a grease trap near the Dumpsters and working with the nearby restaurants to find a different way to store excess cooking grease and byproducts.

“We’ve made good progress, but there is still a lot of work to do,” Dunbar said.

” Photograper Jen Schmidt contributed to this report.

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