NDOW Asks For Public Cooperation With Bears - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

NDOW Asks For Public Cooperation With Bears

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Nevada Department of Wildlife officials say they are doing everything they can to save bears.

But they say they are having problems with people who are preventing them from doing their job, which they say can do more harm than good for the bears.

NDOW spokesperson, Chris Healy, says they use aversion conditioning treatment on bears that wander into neighborhoods, shooting them with rubber bullets and chasing them with dogs.

"We generally provide a very unpleasant experience for them with the hope that they leave the human area, go back up into the wildlands, and stay up there," Healy said.

A mother of three cubs was caught Thursday night in Incline Village, after breaking into some garages.

But some residents interfered with that process, even harassing the people who asked for the traps.

"We had one person, last night, with a wild bear in the trap, actually attempting to utilize bolt cutters to free the bear," Healy said. 

Last year, 83 bears were captured.

Five of those were euthanized because they were caught for a third time or because they were viewed as a public threat.

Aaron Lade is a member of the Bear League and says killing them is not necessary.

"Bears are naturally afraid of people," Lade said. "When you approach a bear, most likely, it's going to run. There hasn't been a killing in Nevada, ever."

Lade says trapping bears is the wrong way to fix the problem.

Instead, he says people need to do their part.

He says everyone should bear-proof their house and garbage cans.

"Your alternative is what you're going to do is get a trap to get this one particular bear when you can get a box and take care of them all," Lade said.

But NDOW says capturing the bears has proven to be the best way to save them and keep the public safe.

"Some of the folks think they're actually saving the bears by interfering with the Department of Wildlife, when in fact, they're really hastening the day when we're going to actually possibly euthanize the female and or the cubs," Healy said.

The mother bear from Thursday night was released by NDOW so it could reunite with her cubs.

Officials are hoping she keeps them in the wild so they don't become nuisance bears, themselves.

Written by Paul Nelson
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