Opinion: Are bear-proof trash containers what’s best for bears?
I read the article in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, “NDOW: Black bear calls this year likely to surpass 2014.”
Several questions never seem to get answered. Here is a direct quote: “When nuts, berries and other natural sources of food aren’t prevalent, they (the bears) start sniffing around people’s trash for meals.”
OK, the problem seems to be lack of natural food. That situation is exaggerated by the prolonged drought. So, the bears go searching. The answer to these problem bears looking for food from both NDOW and the BEAR League seems to be trash-proof containers.
Doesn’t that beg the question of where do the bears go to get food? Do they get more desperate and aggressive? Or, do they move on to the next community? Or, do they go back to their natural habitat where there is limited or no food and starve?
It would seem that if we had 100 percent bear-proof waste containers, if everyone kept food out of their cars and garages, contained dog and cat food, etc., there would still be a problem — the bears would still be hungry.
My conclusion is we are not solving a problem, but rather, moving a problem. We may feel better that “problem bears” are not in our backyard but are either in somebody else’s or starving in the wild. In other communities where measures were taken to discourage bears, what did the bears do?
I like bears and want them to be safe and stay out of harm’s way. I’d just like to know what should happen when the natural food source is not available to our furry friends.