Bear’s death blamed on Tahoe residents
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. ” Residents who improperly dispose of trash are to blame for the fatal shooting of a bear by authorities last week at Lake Tahoe, a Nevada Department of Wildlife official said.
The 660-pound animal was shot after it wandered Thursday into an Incline Village home through an open window and lunged at a Washoe County sheriff’s deputy.
“It may not have been the people whose house it entered, but the neighborhood is definitely to blame. This bear was getting into trash in the Incline area for at least the last two years,” NDOW biologist Carl Lackey told the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza.
“Our policy is if the bear is just getting into trash then we do education on the bear and the people, but once it breaks into homes it must be euthanized,” he added.
Improper disposal of trash continues to be a problem in Incline Village, despite repeated attempts to educate the public about steps that can be taken to reduce human food sources for bears, officials said.
In 2005, local officials launched the Bear Aware Program and strengthened the community’s trash ordinance to try to reduce bear-human conflicts. The moves came after three garbage-foraging bears had to be killed in Incline Village in 2004.
Lackey said the bear killed Thursday had been a nuisance in past years, but had never posed a threat to humans.
“It’s really unfortunate. It was a real pretty bear, one of our research bears,” he said. “But it kept getting into garbage. People weren’t doing anything about it, and this is what happens.”
With a growing population encroaching on their turf at Lake Tahoe, bears have adapted, and many have adopted a diet of human food.
Authorities said a homeowner called for help after finding the bear in the main part of the home, then hid with other family members in a master bedroom.
The animal growled and charged through an open window at a deputy, who shot the bear with a shotgun at close range.
But the bear kept going and was tracked to a nearby home, where it was killed.