Guest Column: Do not call NDOW to handle our bears

There’s a bear named Bandit, and we all need to band together to save him (or her?). He really likes people, and specifically garbage. I don’t think he’s been taught about surviving in the wild. People, Dumpsters, deck barbecues, garages — this is what he knows, and it will get him killed.

The trouble is, I’m not sure how best to save him. The usual thing to do is to try to instill a fear of humans into him by scaring him. It does work. Unfortunately, he’s scared out of one neighborhood and into the next, as this is all he knows. So what is the answer? I think we owe it to him to figure it out.

If we can completely eliminate the easy food source, there is a chance that the town bears will search for food in the forest.

Keep control of your garbage. Tremendous strides have been made all over town with respect to garbage. My own neighborhood is vastly different from even five years ago — bear boxes abound, no one brings garbage out to the curb the night before, dumpsters are locked.

Businesses in town have stepped up, purchasing or leasing new and lockable dumpsters, paying for additional pickups. Property managers are making sure that tenants and vacationers are made aware of proper garbage handling.

Yet still bears are roaming through town, finding that one dumpster that wasn’t properly latched, pawing through the garbage of that one home owner who hasn’t properly stored his garbage. And Bandit is in danger.

A group of people became incensed when the bear hunt was instigated in Nevada two years ago. NDOW wants us to go away, but this group is growing, creating awareness and affecting real change. If you happen to see Bandit, please do not call NDOW — scare him off yourself or call the BEAR League at 530-525-PAWS (7297).

For those who don’t know, the BEAR League is a group of highly competent volunteers who can handle any bear situation — without violence. Help save our bears and call upon the Bear League for any situation you can’t handle yourself.

In the last few weeks, NDOW is responsible for the death of two bears. A bear dubbed “Cloud” by those who loved him, enticed by garbage, had the misfortune of having NDOW called on him. He was tranquilized, subsequently climbed a tree, then fell out of the tree when the tranquilizer took effect, injuring himself, and was then euthanized.

Another bear at Sand Harbor was tranquilized by NDOW recently, overdosed and died. There have actually been two “accidental” deaths from misuse of tranquilizer in the past few months. This is the agency we’ve entrusted to “manage” our wildlife?

I repeat, do not call NDOW — please call the BEAR League and save our little Bandit. Managing our wildlife by killing it is wrong.

Toree Warfield is an Incline Village resident.

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