Bear on Tahoe school campus forces 2-hour lockdown; no one hurt (updated)
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A female black bear that wandered onto the football field at a North Lake Tahoe high school prompted a precautionary lockdown of students for about 2 hours Wednesday.
Incline High School ordered a “Code Yellow” when the bear was spotted at about 9 a.m., said Washoe County School District spokeswoman Victoria Campbell.
“No one was hurt, and the bear is not aggressive at all, it’s nothing like that … just typical (for Tahoe),” she said.
The bear eventually climbed a tree she said, and was just “kind of camping out there.”
Classes continued as normal as Nevada Department of Wildlife officials arrived on scene, Campbell said, and the lockdown was lifted at about 11:15 a.m.
NDOW officials tranquilized and captured the “small female bear” at about 10:45 a.m., said NDOW spokesman Chris Healy
The bear and her cub were captured on Sunday in Carson City, he said, and were released Monday in the backcountry above Carson.
NDOW is currently transporting the sow from Incline Village to Carson City in order to place it into the department’s “family trap,” Healy said, which has two chambers.
Then, officials will return to Incline High School after 2 p.m. — after school lets out — in hopes of trapping the cub to reunite it with its mother.
“The female will be in the closed chamber and the other half of the trap will be open and baited with the hope that the cub will be able to be trapped also,” Healy said.
The trap will be placed on the football field, and human access will be prevented so no one can interfere with the operation, he added.
The bears will not be killed, Healy said by phone Wednesday.
“Where we release them is up for grabs — they’re not doing anything wrong, but they’ve put themselves in a difficult situation, considering where they’re wandering,” he said. “They create quite the challenge because we caught the mother … in Carson City, and the next day … she’s up (in Incline Village).”
Wednesday’s football practice at Incline High will be moved to the soccer field, Campbell said.
This time of year, bear sightings are aplenty in the Lake Tahoe region as bruins search for food to prepare for hibernation.
The ongoing drought has creating challenges for the animals to find nuts and berries in the wilderness due to the lack of water in the Sierra Nevada.
A larger issue that’s not drought-related, according to NDOW and other officials, is homeowners and businesses doing a poor job of containing trash.
— The Sun-Bonanza will update this story as more information becomes available.