Taking on the Tahoe bear problem from both sides | SierraSun.com

Taking on the Tahoe bear problem from both sides

Wildlife officials for California and Nevada are teaming up to tackle bear problems after a record-setting year in 2007.The memorandum of agreement brings together the information, personnel, equipment and supplies of the California Department of Fish and Game and the Nevada Department of Wildlife to better address the increasing number of interactions between bears and humans in the Lake Tahoe Basin.This is a unique, historic agreement between two states to tackle an unprecedented problem, said Steve Martarano, spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Game.Californias bear population is growing and is currently estimated to be between 25,000 and 35,000. Nevada has an estimated 350 black bears, mostly concentrated in the Tahoe Basin area.Last year was the worst across the Reno-Tahoe region in terms of conflicts, with wildlife officials responding to up to 1,500 calls involving 120 different bears, said Carl Lackey, Nevada Department of Wildlifes bear program coordinator.This is a public safety issue, and its also often lethal for the bears, we have a responsibility to both, said Chris Healy, Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman. This is not a bear problem. Its a human problem and a garbage problem.Under the new program, the agencies will share computer databases to give them more information about black bear nuisance and property damage incidents, as well as locations, telemetry and urban and wild land bear distribution population characteristics.As much as we try to educate them (the bears), they still dont know where the state line is. This memorandum of agreement is an important step, said Kevin Lansford, a staff specialist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife. The Associated Press contributed to this report

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