While every summer in Truckee and Lake Tahoe also doubles as black bear season, the number of killings and bear-human incidents on the Nevada side of the lake seems to be increasing recently and gaining attention through the mainstream media and on social media.
On Monday, another one of our bruins was killed, this time in Glenbrook, a 3-year-old male that had a “lack of fear of humans,” according to the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
First off, let’s not sugar coat things here. While NDOW will use the word “euthanize” to describe these situations, Monday’s incident was not an example of humane euthanasia to put an animal out of its misery. These bears were not in any sort of hopeless state — they were trapped for being curious and hungry, and then killed because of it.
“Kill” may be a tough word for some of us to swallow, but it’s what is happening to our bears. Wildlife officials in Nevada are determining they are dangerous based on destructive behavior in neighborhoods filled with people and homes, and they have the power bestowed upon them by the state to kill the animals because of it.
Wildlife advocates can bellow until blue in the face about statistics that show black bears are benign creatures, and people can post on Facebook about these “injustices” and the unneeded “murder” of our bears, but it won’t change the fact that the law is the law. Until something happens in Carson City at the wildife commission or legislative level, nothing will change.
Until then, if you don’t want to see these majestic creatures killed, then use some common sense. From storing trash in bear-proof containers to not hanging up bird feeders, there are several ways to become bear aware. Here are just a few helpful links to get you started: