Ridge not to blame for bear’s death | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Ridge not to blame for bear’s death

Andy Bourelle

Duane Petite thinks The Ridge Tahoe has gotten a bad wrap for the Nov. 5 killing of a mother bear in the Kingsbury area.

Petite, assistant resort manager, said The Ridge Tahoe did not call to complain about the bear – as has been believed – and resort officials feel saddened about the death much like the residents who have angrily called the resort.

“I don’t think there’s another place in the area that’s done more to address the problems caused by bear-human relationships,” Petite said. “Every single trash bin at The Ridge Tahoe is secure against bears and has been for ages. I am confident in saying every one of our trash bins is totally secure.”

The Nevada Division of Wildlife killed a mother bear nearly two weeks ago. Officials had said complaints came from The Ridge Tahoe. However, with several similarly named resorts in the area, Petite said there was a mistake.

“I think there was just a natural confusion of names,” he said. “People often get the different resorts intertwined and confused.”

Petite said all of The Ridge Tahoe’s bins are contained inside buildings where bears can’t get to them. Additionally, any outside trash containers are emptied frequently to avoid spreading odors that might attract bears. Security guards are on duty at all times and respond to every bear sighting.

Depending on the situation, if bears are attempting to break into a place where they shouldn’t be, the security officers can scare the bears away with pepper spray and a loud bullhorn.

All residents also are provided with information on bears, instructing them not to feed them and keep garbage contained.

The Nevada Division of Wildlife responds to bear complaints by using an aversion technique. The bears typically are captured and tranquilized. When they are released, officials spray them with pepper spray and shoot them with a harmless explosive ball, which makes a loud noise.

The reasoning is to make the bear have a bad human experience and to help it stay wild.

The Nevada Division of Wildlife said it unsuccessfully tried the aversion technique twice on the bear killed Nov. 5 before officials put it down.

Wildlife – bears, raccoons, deer and likely even mountain lions – roam the 10 acres of land of the 302-unit Ridge Tahoe condominium complex, and Petite said educating the guests of the private vacation ownership resort about them is its policy.

The Board of Douglas County Commissioners last week decided to adopt a policy of educating residents about bears, and Petite said he supports that action.

Petite also said he hopes the recent bear killing helps educate residents and tourists on the importance of keeping trash away from bears.

“I, personally, was saddened by the death of the bear, upset by the people whose actions ultimately caused it,” he said. “But if, because of this, people learn to act differently, maybe it won’t have been in vain.”

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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