Lake Tahoe bear killed after raiding cooler at Sand Harbor | SierraSun.com

Lake Tahoe bear killed after raiding cooler at Sand Harbor

Staff report

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Another summer season, another healthy black bear killed by the Nevada Department of Wildlife at Lake Tahoe.

According to the Associated Press, and as first reported by the Reno Gazette-Journal, Nevada wildlife officials this week said they were forced to kill a 2-year-old bear last week that was reportedly posing a growing danger at Sand Harbor State Park, east of Incline Village.

NDOW spokesman Chris Healy told the RGJ the bear entered the parking area at Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park the morning of Thursday, June 2, and raided a cooler that was left in the back of a Jeep with an open top.

Healy said initial efforts to scare the bear away failed until a park ranger shot the bear with non-lethal rounds.

"It just kind of stood there and laconically looking at people trying to haze it, that wasn't good," Healy told the RGJ. "The behavior of the bear was not normal."

The 150-pound bear finally left the area, but returned within an hour, walking near the Sand Harbor visitor's center for another two hours before additional efforts to scare it off succeeded.

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NDOW officials eventually set a trap and captured the bear early Friday, and killed it by lethal injection Friday evening because they deemed it too risky to return to Sand Harbor, which on busy days can have as many as 4,000 people.

The incident marks the latest in what's become a yearly summer season trend, especially on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe.

It typically involves bold brown bears roaming into neighborhoods or public places in search of food, and the animals often succeed due to residents or visitors not securing trash properly or leaving items out in the open (like in an open Jeep, for example) or in unlocked cars.

According to NDOW, this creates a dangerous issue of bears becoming too confident in mingling with people, leading to a potentially serious incident of a human injury. Officials use this potential danger as justification for killing the animals.

These decisions draw the ire of many local residents and animal rights activists, including the California-based nonprofit Lake Tahoe BEAR League, which made its frustrations known this week regarding the June 2 and 3 incidents.

"A man obviously and blatantly this ignorant about bears has no business 'speaking' for a state wildlife agency … oh, wait, this is NDOW … that explains it," according to a BEAR League statement published Wednesday morning on its Facebook page. "They kill again, and here follows the pathetic justifications for the death of a typical yearling bear."

Being bear aware

There are several tips residents and visitors to Lake Tahoe can follow in order to live in harmony with bears, no matter what side of the state line you’re on.

Click here to read a bevy of Bear Aware tips for people living in or visiting bear country.

There are also several websites out there that offer helpful tips regarding being bear aware in the Sierra Nevada. Below are a few:

clean-tahoe.org/be-bear-aware

http://www.savebears.org

ndow.org/Nevada_Wildlife/Bear_Logic

wildlife.ca.gov/Keep-Me-Wild/Bear