Letter: Keep wildlife wild with bear-proof trash containers
Growing up in South Lake, I have spent my fair share of time around bears — namely, chasing them away on summer evenings when my family forgot to bring our trash indoors. Aging into adulthood, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in the local bear population; specifically, the number of cubs being born, and the damaging effects an unsustainably expanding population of bears can have on our city. I urge community leaders to consider adopting mandatory bear-proofing policies for locals and vacationers alike, as the need to bear proof is greater than ever.
The bear population in Tahoe is similar to any other population in an ecosystem; as opportunity for food expands, bear growth and activity occurs until the population is put back into check by a limiting resource (food). This results in population fluctuations; starvation among bears will rise as competition for food (our trash) increases. Not addressing this crisis and continuing to allow bears easy access to our trash is likely to result in more cubs born each year. Once competition peaks, a spike in home and vehicle entrances will follow as bears get desperate for food, resulting in a more aggressive bear population throughout our community.
Today, I read of an 18-year-old bear with four cubs (Orphaned Tahoe bear cubs flourish at Reno rescue, Tribune, June 28) — this is not a healthy amount of offspring for any bear to produce in a stable ecosystem. As a community, we need to accept responsibility for our lifestyle, and recognize that each of us made a decision to live alongside wildlife. I urge community leaders to support bear-proofing legislation; not only for us, but for our bears. The best way to achieve this is by helping to keep our wildlife wild.
South Lake Tahoe, Calif.