Nevada Department of Wildlife released a 3-year-old female black bear Thursday after trapping her Wednesday near Stateline, Nev.
The bear was trapped in a time-share condominium project on the South Shore. According to NDOW spokesman Chris Healy, the agency had received reports of a bear trying to break into condos, so they set a trap. He said it was the first time they have encountered this particular bear, which didn’t have any identification and had not broken into anything or done any damage.
“This is the first time we have handled this bear. She weighed only 150 pounds and that indicates she is not yet a garbage bear,” NDOW biologist Carl Lackey stated in a press release. “We were able to give her a healthy dose of aversion conditioning treatment during the release. When we can shoot a bear with rubber bullets and chase her with the Karelian bear dogs, it gives us a real chance to change the bear’s behavior and keep it from becoming too acclimated to humans.”
The female bear was not nursing so there was a not a cub to worry about during the capture and aversion conditioning process, NDOW stated. The bear was also fitted with an ear tag, received a tattoo on her inside lip in case the ear tag falls off and the bear is handled again and had hair and blood samples taken as part of an ongoing research project. Healy said this is a standard practice that helps NDOW track the movement of bears, which is part of one of the longest ongoing studies in North America.
The capture and release of the bear was also witnessed by a crowd of timeshare tenants. Lackey says that he has worked with the managers of the time share for many years to make sure that tenants do not attract bears, knowingly or unknowingly, to the complex, according to the release.
“When we receive cooperation like this, we can save most of these bears from becoming too dangerous to save,” he stated.
Western Nevada just experienced the hottest July in recorded history and has been in drought for the last two years. Lackey said that the bears will soon dramatically increase their food consumption in an effort to put on layers of fat in preparation for hibernation in late November or early December.
“We will see more and more bears searching for food. It is the responsibility of people living in bear country to not attract the bears by poorly handling garbage or leaving other attractants like bird and pet food available,” he said.
Lackey indicated that NDOW’s assistance has been asked for in two different areas on Nevada’s side of the south shore of Lake Tahoe.
“The people in the area have asked for help with nuisance bear activity. Hopefully we can get to these bears and perform aversive conditioning before they begin breaking into homes.”
To report nuisance bear activity, call the NDOW’s Bear Hotline telephone number at 775-688-2327. For information on living with bears, visit www.ndow.org and click on the “Bear Logic” page.