Mother bear, cub trapped at Lake Tahoe to be released in mountains (updated) |

Mother bear, cub trapped at Lake Tahoe to be released in mountains (updated)

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Wildlife officials have trapped a mother bear and her cub at Lake Tahoe, but rather than killing them, the bruins will be released in the mountains because they weren’t deemed a threat to public safety.

The six-year-old sow and her male cub were trapped Tuesday, Sept. 1, in Crystal Bay along the North Shore, according to a statement from the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

According to NDOW, the trap was not meant for the mother and cub, but instead for a “potential conflict bear that had been reported to have been causing property damage to homes in the area.”

“NDOW personnel responded on Tuesday morning to a delicate situation. A sow (weighing about 150 pounds) was caught in a trap, with her cub remaining free outside the trap,” according to the statement. “After about an hour of trying, NDOW was able to capture the cub (six months old and 30 pounds) and reunite it with the sow.”

Both have been tranquilized, tagged, tattooed and micro chipped, and they will be released Wednesday morning in the mountains above Crystal Bay, according to NDOW.


Neither bear had previously been handled by NDOW.

“This kind of situation is actually fairly common when dealing with bears in an urban interface situation,” Carl Lackey, NDOW black bear biologist, said in a statement. “We had a similar situation in west Reno last year that resulted with a sow and a cub in a trap and a second cub outside the trap.

“After the second cub was captured, they were all safely released back in to the wild. The same will happen in this situation.”

Just because the bears are tagged does not mean that gives them a “death sentence,” NDOW spokesman Chris Healy said Tuesday.

“You know what is a death sentence is all the trash that people continue to leave out,” he said. “Tagging bears has nothing to do with it.”

As for the nuisance bear in the area, Healy said he and Lackey spoke to a homeowner in Crystal Bay who said he saw the bruin break into a neighbor’s house, describing it as “a real big bear with reddish brown shoulders.”

Currently, NDOW does not have plans to place another trap in the area to catch it, Healy said.

“It’s been a week or more since we had a report, so I’m going to wait,” he said.


It marks the fourth bear trapped in a one-week span on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe.

While those trapped Tuesday will live, two others trapped last week at Lake Tahoe by NDOW officials are dead.

A yearling female bear, about 18 months old, was trapped during the evening hours between Thursday night and Friday morning, Aug. 27-28, in the Kingsbury area of Douglas County, near the lake’s South Shore.

On Tuesday, Aug. 25, a 450-pound male bear was captured in Incline Village on the North Shore.

In both cases, NDOW officials made the call to kill the bruins, as both were deemed public safer threats due to their “dangerous” and “aggressive” behavior, officials said.

Healy called last week’s incidents yet another reminder that people should manage garbage better, especially in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

For information on living with bears, visit and find the ”Bear Logic” page.

You can also visit the nonprofit BEAR League web page at to learn more tips from the volunteer-led group on living in bear country.

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