NDOW: 3 Bears Caught in West Reno, Release Scheduled for Tuesday - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

NDOW: 3 Bears Caught in West Reno, Release Scheduled for Tuesday

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The Nevada Dept. of Wildlife says three black bears caught overnight in west Reno will be released back into the wild on Tuesday.

A NDOW game warden caught a female and two cubs in the Juniper Ridge area off of Mayberry Drive. One cub was spotted in the area and tranquilized but the other eluded game wardens until early Monday.

NDOW says the bears will be released sometime Tuesday using aversive conditioning techniques designed to scare the bears and give them a chance to be wild. "Once we have the bear in the trap and right as we release it, we shoot rubber bullets at it and chase it with Karelian bear dogs, using all of the tools available to us in an aversion conditioning program. The goal is to make the bear uncomfortable and make it think twice before coming back to civilization," says biologist Carl Lackey.

Chris Healy says the three bears will receive ear tags, tattoos and microchips so they can be identified if they are ever caught again.

NDOW says west Reno has been a hotspot for bears since early October as area fruit trees ripen and bears hone in on "easy meals" as they prepare for winter. In the past week alone, five bears in west Reno and three in Carson City have been captured.

NDOW urges residents to be aware and keep garbage away from bears and by picking up fruit from trees in their yards. Bears are still in the physiological state of hyperphagia where their in-take of food can increase from 3,000 calories a day to as many as 25,000 calories per day. "Sierra Nevada black bears usually go into hibernation in between Thanksgiving and Christmas as food sources become harder to find."

NDOW says its saved nearly 400 bears using aversive conditioning treatment since the technique was first used in the late 1990s. "The key to saving these bears is that we receive a phone call from the public right when the bear shows up in a neighborhood. When we're allowed to do our job from the beginning, without interference from outside groups, we can save most bears."
If you see a bear, you're urged to call NDOW's Bear Hotline at 775-688-2327 or go to www.ndow.org and find the 'Bear Logic' page on the web.

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