Bears wake up, break in |

Bears wake up, break in

Adam Jensen

Wildlife officials and advocates are preparing for what could be an especially active season for bears in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

This year’s below-average snowfall may hinder the growth of bears’ natural food supply and leave the bruins searching for table scraps and other man-made food.

“We’re expecting a very busy season because of the abnormal winter,” said Ann Bryant, executive director of the BEAR League, a bear advocacy group based on the West Shore.

Most Lake Tahoe Basin bears, besides mothers and cubs, have been up for the past month, Bryant said.

“They’re definitely out and about and they’re hungry,” Bryant said.

Mother bears and their young will probably start to come out of their dens soon, Bryant said. The BEAR League received several reports of bear break-ins in Meyers this week.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife experienced a rash of bear problems at the North Shore near the end of February, but has been relatively quite since then, said department spokesman Chris Healy.

Although backcountry food sources have been bolstered by two wet winters before this one, they could start drying up as the summer progresses.

“Normally what we see is the action picks up a little later in the year,” Healy said. “It just depends on how long our spring disguised as winter goes.”

Healy recalled a freak summer cold streak in 2007 that sent bears searching for food in such familiar territory as downtown Reno.

“We’re anticipating a very busy year, like we always do,” Healy said. “I think we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Bryant recommended people bring bird feeders inside and properly store trash to prevent bears from making a meal out of their leftovers. She also encouraged people block entrances to crawl spaces to prevent bears from curling up underneath their homes and urged people to keep their dogs at bay. Interactions between bear cubs and dogs tend to end up with a mother bear getting involved, Bryant said.

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