Bears by the Lake: Ursine art project will decorate South Shore this summer |

Bears by the Lake: Ursine art project will decorate South Shore this summer

Staff reports

Stored in the Horizon warehouse, some bare bears wait to be picked up by artists. / Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune

In the biggest public art project to hit Tahoe yet, the South Shore will host 50 life-size bear replicas this summer, reminiscent of Chicago’s Cows on Parade.

“Bears by the Lake,” sponsored by All About Tahoe Realty and Nevada Funding, will showcase regional artists’ talents. The fiberglass bears will be painted and lacquered, creating a cast of characters that will greet visitors at Heavenly Village, Ski Run Boulevard and local businesses.

Black bears have long been a highly visible element of life in Tahoe, roaming neighborhoods and creeks in search of food. The majestic beasts remain an integral part of Tahoe’s inspirational landscape.

Black Bear Facts:

— The only species of bears in California and Nevada are black bears. However, they do range in color from blonde to black, with cinnamon brown being the most common color in both states.

— There are an estimated 25,000 to 35,000 black bears in California and 200 to 300 In Nevada.

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— Black bears normally avoid humans. If encountered, always leave them an escape route.

— Males are much larger than females and can weigh up to 500 pounds, although average weight is about 300 pounds.

— Black bears can sprint up to 35 miles per hour. They are strong swimmers and great tree climbers.

— A typical wild bear diet consists of berries, plants, nuts, roots, honey, honeycomb, insects, larvae, carrion, and small mammals.

— As winter approaches, bears will forage for food up to 20 hours a day, storing enough fat to sustain them through hibernation. Bears often hibernate in large hollow trees 40 to 60 feet off the ground, under rocks and in hollow logs.

— Bears that are accustomed to people can become too bold and lose their fear of humans. To avoid this behavior, do not let bears become habituated to human sources of food.