Filmmaker follows BEAR League |

Filmmaker follows BEAR League

Christine Stanley

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Carl Lackey, a wildlife biologist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, right, releases while Alyson Andreasen, a volunteer biologist with NDW, hits the bear with a non-lethal bean bag Thursday off Quaking Aspen Lane. The 2-year-old female, weighing 100 pounds, was trapped Tuesday evening in the area.

For seven years Ann Bryant and the BEAR League have been giving hundreds of talks and presentations every year, encouraging people to be responsible when dealing with their furry neighbors.

This year, a producer from PBS caught wind.

Doug Bartran, a freelance producer and nature filmmaker came to Tahoe for the first time in June to include the BEAR League in a show on the PBS “Nature” series called “Animals Behaving Worse.” He’s been in Tahoe City, Tahoma and Truckee this week working on “Lions, Coyotes and Bears: Living With Predators.”

Bartran found Bryant, the executive director of the BEAR League, to be an important element in the story because of what she and her program have done around the Tahoe area to help black bears and educate the community on coexisting with wild animals.

“(Bears) are a big issue, especially in the foothills, and I wanted to explore that issue locally because it is important for everybody to know about wild animals and how to live with them,” Bartran said.

On the Nevada side of the Lake Tahoe Basin, bears have become part of a managed culture where many of the animals forage for food in subdivisions. This week, a mother and three cubs were trapped by Nevada Division of Wildlife officials in the lower Kingsbury area of the South Shore, tagged with tracking devices and set free on Thursday.

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The idea is to study the bears and how they exist within urban boundaries. Rarely are the bears aggressive but they do wander near private homes in their search for garbage, said Carl Lackey, biologist with the division.

Bartran has also filmed and produced projects such as a show for NOVA called “Shark Attack,” about California great whites and tiger sharks in Hawaii, and a National Geographic film called “Reptile Rulers,” about the reptiles of the Everglades.

For “Lions, Coyotes, and Bears: Living with Predators,” a show that will air on KVIE channel 6, Bartran is following Bryant’s work and will include a segment of her presenting an educational slideshow campaign to school students.

That campaign resulted in more calls placed to the BEAR League than in previous years, said Bryant. Last year, students painted ceramic tiles that will be assembled to create a memorial to bears killed by humans.

With human populations increasing in bear habitats, it’s necessary to educate everyone about how to live with bears, Bartran said.

“More and more people are moving into wild habitats and part of the resolution in the conflict between people and animals is knowing more about it and how we affect them,” he said.

Stay tuned:

— “Lions, Coyotes, and bears: Living with Predators” will air Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. on KVIE

— “Animals Behaving Worse”, will air on KVIE in April, but a specific day has not yet been set.

Facts to keep bears and people safe, from the BEAR league:

If a bear is in your tree:

— Don’t draw attention to it

— Quiet any barking dogs

— Leave the bear alone

— Bears often stay in trees for up to two days, but once they feel safe enough to come down, they will leave

If a bear is trying to come into your house:

— Be aggressive

— Make noise

— Be dominant

— You must make the bear know that your house is your territory

Bear-proof your car:

— Roll-up windows

— Lock Doors

— Remove all food and wrappers

— Keep an open container of PineSol in your front seat.

Did you know:

— When a bear’s nose runs, it means it’s crying or afraid

— No black bear has ever killed a person in Nevada or California

— 16 bears were hit by cars on the California side of the Tahoe basin in 2004

— It is a myth that bears will attack a person that gets between a mother and her cubs. Grizzly bears will do that, but black bears, the only bears left in California, will command their cubs to run away or climb a tree.