Bear trap set in Incline; Resident asks for non-lethal tactics
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Some Incline Village residents are upset after seeing a bear trap set in their neighborhood that backs up to U.S. Forest Service land.
This trap is not part of the numerous traps recently set around Tahoe by the Nevada Department of Wildlife after break-in reports, this one was set to find a specific bear.
“We have had multiple break-ins in this vicinity,” said Ashley Sanchez NDOW public information officer.
Sanchez said if the said bear is caught and DNA is confirmed, it will be euthanized.
“The bear is beyond aversive conditioning,” she said. “It now associates the neighborhood with food.”
Sanchez said that the bear got into a home with people inside which is why it turned into a public safety concern.
NDOW’s Black Bear Conflict Management Policy and Procedure used to have a 3-strike rule that said if a bear had to be dealt with three times it would be euthanized. Sanchez said they used to use that method but now they look at each incident case by case.
There is an NDOW official monitoring the location 24 hours.
“With the illegal activity that we get with our traps in Incline, there has been 24-hour surveillance,” she said.
Sanchez said the trap was placed in that specific location because they did not want to place the trap closer to houses in case of harassment.
NDOW officials and two Washoe County Sheriff’s Office deputies on Tuesday, Aug. 18, were at the location of the trap along with Incline Village residents.
Sarah Johns, public information officer for WCSO said that the deputies were doing area checks when they saw vehicles in the neighborhood.
Johns said the officers stopped to educate people on the laws regarding the trap.
“Since the end of July, we’ve had ongoing issues with people tampering with the bear traps,” she said. “Deputies are aware of ongoing issues and tensions.”
Johns also said that the officers want to keep people safe and let NDOW do their job.
A resident of the Incline neighborhood, Tara Meyer, said she saw NDOW installing the trap on Monday.
“I am quite bothered that this is placed on our street and we are not having issues,” she said.
Meyer told the Tribune that no one in her cul-de-sac requested the trap and that they have had no issues with bears. Meyer says she is worried that the chocolate chip cookies and marshmallows that are being used to bait the bears could potentially lure neighborhood dogs into the trap or even children.
“They are luring bears from the forest,” Meyer said.
She also said that she and her neighbors signed up to do shifts to monitor the trap from the street but that they will not go near or touch any of the traps because it is NDOW property and it’s against the law.
“I wish we could do things like other mountain communities around the nation,” she said. “There are non-lethal tactics.”
Meyer said that requiring bear boxes would be a great start at mitigating issues.
“I wish NDOW would do more to work with local communities to keep bears safe and the community safe,” she said. “I am really heartbroken.”
Her brother who has lived in Incline Village for 27 years, Grant Meyer, studied ecology at the University of Southern California and has worked with large mammals. He said that “NDOW is not serving the interest of the community with the trap being set there.”
“This is such a waste of taxpayers’ resources. The community does not want NDOW here culling our bear population,” said Meyer. “Resources are completely wasted on this policy. Once this bear is euthanized, there will be another to fill its place with this method. We need to be following the methods of Yellowstone and Mammoth.”
Meyer says we need to educate the public especially with the influx of out-of-towners moving in.
“It makes no sense to entice the bears on the edge of National Forest land and bear territory. That is just encouraging more human bear interactions and bears need to be negatively reinforced so they learn to stay away from humans.” Meyer said. “Baiting bears with marshmallows is teaching bears that humans are an easy source to source.”
On Wednesday night the trap was removed from that location, but is still in Incline.
“We moved the trap because we weren’t successful at that location,” said Sanchez.
Sanchez said that the trap is in another location, but has not been set yet.
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