Wrong bear killed near Rubicon Trail | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Wrong bear killed near Rubicon Trail

Emily Aughinbaugh, Tribune staff writer

RUBICON PROPERTIES – BEAR League officials and community members are upset about what they claim was a wrongful killing of a bear Saturday.

League Director Anne Bryant said the large male black bear that was trapped and killed this weekend on Rubicon Drive did not have a permit out on him. However, Bryant said a permit was filed for the trapping and killing of a female bear that had broken into four homes on 3 Ring Road in the Rubicon Beach area last week.

Rob Kilbourne, a patrol lieutenant for the California Fish and Game Department, said there were two permits out for that area and one is still valid until Oct. 15.

Bryant said the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department thought it had averted the female bear and her two cubs successfully last week until the trio broke into another home three times on Rubicon Drive, a neighborhood close to where the mother and her cubs originally caused trouble.

Bryant said the mama bear would break a hole in a window large enough for the two cubs to enter the house. Once inside the house, the cubs would then pass food out to the mother bruin who dined on the porch.

Bryant said after the bears caused the commotion on Rubicon Drive a permit was filed to catch the mother bear and a trap was set Friday night. Bryant said neighbors were not happy with the trap and claimed they would spring it unless Bryant or Deputy Pat Harris, who originally averted the bears, were allowed to positively identify the bear before it was killed.

At 11 a.m. Saturday, Bryant was notified by neighbors that the wrong bear had been trapped four hours earlier. Bryant said she was upset because neither she nor Harris were notified. When asked to see the body, Bryant said she was denied by two different Fish and Game officials.

“People in the neighborhood are just furious and meanwhile the Department of Fish and Game is not allowing me to go and identify the body,” she said. “Now we have one bear who died for nothing. I’m feeling completely lied to. I put my good name on the line for (Fish and Game) who didn’t follow through.”

Bryant said she, like many of the neighbors involved, believe the department is covering up something.

“If they have done nothing wrong they need to prove that,” Bryant said. “I think (Fish and Game) really did try to do the right thing at the beginning. The slip-up came with the trapper and the department backing the trapper. I should have immediately been able to see the body. All blame and fault would have been absolved from them.”

Rubicon Beach resident Marian Hennman said she was also upset by the way Fish and Game ignored neighbors’ phone calls to the department.

“There must be some collusion going on here or else (Fish and Game) would return our calls,” Hennman said. “There must be something going on that we don’t know of.”

Kilbourne said he received several vicious phone calls by angry neighbors who were not properly informed of the situation. Kilbourne said the Department of Fish and Game met all the requirements in trapping and killing the bear.

“We do everything in our power to make sure that we get the right bear,” he said. “We have no desire to harvest bears indiscriminately.”

“We want to be responsible to every citizen,” Kilbourne added. “Certainly we want to be receptive to input by the public. But I personally resent the implication that Fish and Game had any reason to purposely catch the wrong bear.”

Kilbourne said the department does not have to answer to the BEAR League since the memorandum of understanding between the two agencies was dissolved a few months ago. However, he said the department always tries to work with the League.

Bryant said the alliance between the two ended because it included the Mountain Lion Foundation, which was sponging off the BEAR League. The League severed ties with the Foundation and consequently with Fish and Game. Bryant said the group has no further plans for an alliance.

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