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Nevada's Bear Problem - What Can Be Done?

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Lisa Jacobs/Flickr

Young bear at the End of Vikingsholm trail, Lake Tahoe, California in June 2014.

Last week, a bear wandered onto a golf course in Dayton, Nevada.  Wildlife officials shot the bear with a tranquilizer dart and he drowned after running into a pond.

While this particular bear’s death was an accident, a number of other bears have been captured and euthanized this year because they became a threat to humans.

Why are bears and people coming into so much contact these days?

Chris Healy, the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s public information officer, says forage is short for bears due to the years of drought Nevada has experienced. 

The problem is exacerbated when bears go into hyperphagia, the state that drives bears to dramatically increase their caloric intake in preparation for hibernation.

Healy says bears have an extremely strong sense of smell – approximately 2,100 times stronger than that of humans. This means an open door or a bag of half-eaten fast food left in a car can spell danger. Bird feeders and pet food left outside also attract bears.

In order to prevent these types of encounters, Healy recommends purchasing bear-proof garbage containers and “thinking like a bear” – identifying choices that could lure hungry bears into a hazardous situation and taking steps to avoid them.  More information is available here.

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Chris Healy, public information officer, Nevada Department of Wildlife

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