News of bear’s death premature |

News of bear’s death premature

Rob Bhatt

El Dorado County Agricultural Commissioner Bill Snodgrass on Thursday said reports that a bear trapped off Nez Perce Drive in Tahoe Paradise was killed by trappers was incorrect.

Although it is common practice to kill bears considered a threat to public safety, a last-minute decision by California Department of Fish and Game officials has saved the animal’s life, at least temporarily.

Bob Teagle, a Fish and Game capture specialist, said he asked the county trapper who caught the bear to take it to a Fish and Game facility in Sacramento for observation.

“It was supposed to (be euthanized),” Teagle said. “But we decided to look at it.”

Teagle also said prior reports about the bear’s injuries were incorrect. A wound on the animal’s back was discovered upon close inspection to be red paint, possibly splattered when someone fired a paint ball gun at the animal.

The animal appears to be suffering, however, from a heart murmur believed responsible for making it lethargic and move slowly.

Based on reports from neighbors, Fish and Game investigators believe someone in the neighborhood where the bear was found was regularly leaving food out for the bear.

This prompted wildlife authorities to urge residents not to feed wild animals. Such action diminishes their natural feeding abilities, makes them dependent on human beings for food and makes them lose their natural fears about contact with people, Teagle said.

An injured bear reliant on humans for food is seen as a threat to attack people, Teagle added.

He said the bear will likely be euthanized, possibly by firearm or lethal injection. He did not confirm when or how such action will occur.

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