Mother bear, 3 cubs trapped and tagged
Four bears – a mother and her three cubs- were trapped in the lower Kingsbury area by Nevada Division of Wildlife on Wednesday morning. The cubs will be tagged and the mother fitted with a radio collar, officials said, and released back into the area today.
“We’ve been doing research on urban bears that hang out in urban areas and get into people’s trash,” said Carl Lackey, biologist with the division. The research has been ongoing since 1997, he said.
Sometime before 7 a.m., one of the cubs wandered into the large cylindrical bear trap. The mother and two other cubs sniffed and pawed at the trap as the cub whined in distress, according to Kingsbury resident Ramona Di Domenico.
Wednesday’s event is common on the Nevada side of the Lake Tahoe Basin. Each year, Lackey responds to about 40 calls from residents who complain of nuisance bears on their property. In many instances, Lackey will set traps for the bears, catch them and then release them into the wild.
“One cub was trapped, and the two other cubs and mother refused to leave the other one behind,” Domenico said. The bears retreated into the woods when wildlife officials showed up. Eventually, all four were tranquilized and removed in a truck.
Many are concerned for the life of the bear when they see a trap, said Anne Bryant, director of the BEAR League. In Nevada, bears are usually trapped to be tagged and studied, she said, while in California, the Department of Fish and Game issues bear depredation permits when bears are deemed a nuisance to homeowners. Bears are usually killed after being trapped, she added.
It is not illegal to feed wildlife, including bears, in Nevada. However, Douglas County has an ordinance requiring bear-proof trash containers at homes where bears have gotten into trash, said Lackey.
It is illegal in California to make food available, intentionally or non-intentionally, to bears.
Bears become more active in fall as they prepare for hibernation. The BEAR League is getting more calls each day reporting bear activity near homes.
As temperatures drop, a bear starts consuming up to 25,000 calories a day as it fattens up for the winter.
There’s plenty of food in the wild for them to achieve their caloric needs, said Bryant. They will spend up to 20 hours a day eating berries, grubs, trout and even dead animals.
The league insists black bears are harmless and will easily scare away in response to loud yelling. Trash attracts them, even if stored in the garage. They recommend using original scent Pinesol to cover the scent of trash in cars, garages and trash cans.
Many new bear-proof trash canisters, running around $70 each, are still available. For more information, contact the BEAR League at (530) 525-7297.