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Tahoe Bear Wars: What Happens When You Stuff TOO MANY PEOPLE into California | High Sierra Backpacker

Tahoe Bear Wars: What Happens When You Stuff TOO MANY PEOPLE into California

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 19 March 2018


Tahoe Bear Wars

What Happens When You Stuff TOO MANY PEOPLE into California

Bears vs People vs People

Tahoe bears are breaking into homes with people inside. Should the animals be killed?
Sac Bee, March 16, 2018.

The story above is one aspect of what happens when you over-develop and over-populate a pristine natural national treasure, being the Lake Tahoe Basin (and California, generally).

A big part of the problem for the local neighboorhoods, and the bears, is that a large amount of Tahoe Basin housing has been bought by absentee owners to rent as, "vacation rentals," leaving a large number of these party houses empty most of the time, who's smells, trash, and long periods of inactivity moves those "party" houses up on the bear's target list.

Houses with people are more at risk when the bears expect an empty party house...

The problems of absentee owners is an issue all around the Tahoe Basin, as are growing traffic, crime, degradation of the Lake and the Tahoe Basin in the face of shorter, warming Winters and decades of overdevelopment.

All of these factors are affecting the bears, and bringing them into closer quarters with our irresponsible expansions of human effects in the Tahoe Basin, which has triggered what I call "The Tahoe Bear Wars."


The story linked to above traces the general outline of these conflicts between bears vs. people vs. people.


Highlights of the Bear Wars Story

Domestic Chaos
"By the time winter rolled around and the bears started their hibernation, at least 14 homes in Homewood had been ransacked."

"A growing number of bears have transitioned from dumpster divers to expert burglars."

"The home invasions have coincided with Tahoe’s residential neighborhoods and resorts doing a better job of locking up garbage in bear-proof bins."

Bear Tech
"...increasingly with people inside, biologists say. Mother bears appear to be teaching their cubs the burglary skills, ensuring the break ins will continue year after year."

"The rules in the eyes and the mind of a bear are, ‘If I can smell it, and I can get at it, it's mine,’” said Ann Bryant, the executive director of Tahoe’s non-profit Bear League."

Bear Protectors
"Any state-sanctioned bear killing – even of bears proven to have been habitually breaking into locked or occupied homes through ear-tagging programs, radio collars or DNA evidence – infuriates Tahoe’s well-funded and well-organized groups of bear advocates, who defend the animals with a righteous, evangelical zeal."

"... one homeowner had a mother bear and her cubs shot and killed after a break in. A few days later, he discovered that someone had broken into his home and trashed the place."

(Nevada law allows residents to kill property-damaging-offending bears)

The Bear League Lady
"...residents blame Bryant of the Bear League for organizing harassment campaigns against homeowners if they cause a bear’s demise. She adamantly denies any harassment is her doing, through she doesn’t dispute it happens."

"...said he has lived around Bryant long enough to know what would have happened if he tried to get a permit to kill the family of bears he found in his kitchen. (He said he doesn’t want them killed – just moved.)"

“I don’t allow my people to do that,” Bryant said. “My volunteers and my members know better than to do any such thing.”

"Nonetheless, Bryant said it wouldn’t have ended well for Chaplin if he’d tried to have the bears killed."

 “People that live in Tahoe are very protective. … He probably would have been run out of town. There’s been many people run out of town. People have been run out of town since before I even moved here. I still get blamed for it.”

"Last year, Carl Lackey, a Nevada state wildlife biologist, sued Bryant and two other bear advocates, alleging they damaged his reputation and slandered him in a years-long harassment campaign on their social media accounts."

"Bryant said she’s forbidden from talking about Lackey as part of a recent confidential settlement."

Bear League
"Lately, the Bear League appears to have toned it down on its Facebook page. Bryant told The Bee last month she only posts facts on social media to foster discussions about keeping bears safe. She said the Bear League deletes any comment that calls for violence or criminal behavior or that post residents’ personal information."

"In response to complaints that people were harassed after reporting wildlife problems, the Nevada legislature in 2016 passed a law that forbids the state from releasing any information that could used to identify the person making the reports."

"It’s a different story in California, where the wildlife agency’s policy is to kill bears if they attack someone. Otherwise, state wildlife officials are deeply reluctant to kill a problem bear."



Watch six bears ransack a Lake Tahoe vacation home



Bear activist sues Nevada officials over ‘terrorism’ remark

NDOW biologist sues Bear League over online attacks



Tahoe Getting "Progressively" Trashed



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Desolation Wilderness Trail Hiking Map
(Click the Red & Black Dots)

Meiss Country Roadless Area Trail Hiking Map


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