Critics express concern over bear trapping

Reported by: Terri Hendry
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Updated: 7/26/2013 6:44 pm
A routine bear trapping at Lake Tahoe took an unusual twist. It became a heated topic on social media.

When the facebook page "Lake Tahoe Wall of Shame" first posted a picture of a bear trap placed at an incline residence, criticism of the homeowner as well as the attempt to trap a nuisance bear grew.

A resident had requested the trap after the Nevada Department of Wildlife said a bear was breaking into garages.Last night when the trap closed on a momma bear, leaving her cubs to cry, calls on the facebook page to release the bear grew.

Ann Bryant, Executive Director of the Bear League said "The bottom line is the bears belong here. They were here for thousands of years before were were." She added, "we need to co-exist with them."

The Nevada Department of Wildlife routinely traps nuisance bears and performs what is called "aversion conditioning" which makes things so miserable on the bear, it never wants anything more to do with humans.

Some,are under the misconception a trapped bear will automatically be killed.

Chris Healy, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Wildlife said, "That is absolutely not true. That is not our goal."

Healy said food is behind nuisance bears adding, "One of the problems we have up in Incline Village is that we have multi-generational garbage bears who see humas as the main source of food."

Bryant, agrees food is the problem, specifically people who allow bears access to human food. She is opposed to trapping and wants her group to be able to perform the aversion conditioning when bears present a problem.

Healy says this would not be wise. He said, "It is an unfortunate trend in Incline Village because people have taken it upon themselves to get in between the Department of Wildlife and those bears."

He said he sees another unfortunate trend. "This kind of lack of common sense is creating a difficult situation at Lake Tahoe where its very difficult for us to be able to manage bears," he said.

Bryant is unapologetic about those voicing their opposition to trapping, including the trapping that happened last night. She said, "What these people did was horrific. They terrorized and tortured this bear family for hours last night. I broke so many hearts from all over the world that were watching this." She added, "Why should they be allowed to do that?"

The momma bear was later released unharmed. She was quickly reunited with her cubs.

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