Opinion: Another unfortunate reminder to be wary of wildlife on Tahoe roads
One of Tahoe’s baby bear cubs was hit and killed on Mt. Rose Highway 431 in Incline Village this weekend.
The cub was only four months old — a very brief lifespan. The BEAR League received the call after the first car hit it; he was injured but alive.
However, within the few minutes it took us to arrive, two other cars hit it, and it was killed. We risked our own safety, along with the Washoe Count Sheriff’s Office and Nevada Highway Patrol, in order to get the cub’s body out of the middle of the road as fast as possible.
Our concerns were: 1) the mother bear and sibling (close by in a tree) would come out onto the road to “help it” and also be struck by a vehicle (we’ve seen this happen) or, 2) a motorist would swerve to avoid the cub or its family and have a serious or fatal accident.
With approval from the Nevada Department of Wildlife and help from Nevada Department of Transportation, we were able to neutralize the blood from the road (so the cub’s mother would not approach the location looking for its baby) and remove the cub’s body far away from the scene so as not to attract coyotes or the bear family and risk a dangerous collision on the highway.
This was a tragic death, but it serves to remind us that we live in the Tahoe National Forest, and we all should be driving with the constant realization that the wildlife that makes Tahoe a wilderness is incapable of understanding the ways and “progress” of man.
True “progress” will be a reality only when we consider the lives of other beings we share habitat with.
Executive Director, BEAR League