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Bear traps placed throughout basin after break-in reports

A bear trap placed at the end of Ansaldo Acres Rd. at Stateline.
Provided / Staci Baker

The Nevada Department of Wildlife has placed numerous bear traps around the Lake Tahoe Basin due to reports of bears breaking into garages to get to unsecured trash.

“We don’t have a specific incident,” said Ashley Sanchez, NDOW’s public information officer. “We have placed a number of traps around Tahoe due to increased garage break-ins.”

Sanchez said that she doesn’t have the exact information but believes that the metal traps are checked daily.

She said what happens to the bears captured in the trap depends on the situation, but would most likely be treated with aversive conditioning which is a technique used to show the bear that a specific location is associated with a negative experience.

A local veterinarian believes the traps placed by NDOW are unnecessary and is frustrated about seeing them in her neighborhood.

“NDOW says that they are there to protect wildlife and people, but neither are true,” said Dr. Staci Baker, of Stateline.

Baker shared a photo from last October of an NDOW trap placed near unsecured garbage. She said that based on her 30 years of experience with NDOW, that she believes they live for placing these traps. Baker said that she agrees that aversive conditioning works and has been used in other areas, but says that a trap is not necessary.

Baker said that in 2016 she witnessed two bear cubs that were left in a trap on top of State Route 207 for three days and called Douglas County Animal Control.

Baker is licensed in both California and Nevada to practice veterinary medicine.

“California is doing much better than Nevada, but they both need work,” she said regarding bear management. “Statistically, we don’t have the same amount of bears that California does.”

Baker said NDOW should be targeting homeowners and rental owners who don’t take measures to keep bears away.

“They shouldn’t be targeting bears,” Baker said. “They need to be targeting homeowners and vacation home rental owners who aren’t acting responsibly,” said Baker. “Bears are the ones who are going to have to pay.”

Baker and NDOW urge people to secure trash properly.


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