For Immediate Release: 9/8/2021

Returning Evacuees, Visitors Urged to Secure Properties, Resist Providing Food and Water to Bears

Peter Tira
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
916-215-3858
peter.tira@wildlife.ca.gov

Dan Shaw
California State Parks Sierra District
530-525-9535
daniel.shaw@parks.ca.gov

Jennifer Ramella
Nevada State Parks
775-684-2704
jmramella@parks.nv.gov

Ashley Sanchez
Nevada Department of Wildlife
775-600-5669
asanchez@ndow.org

Damian Frisby
El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office
530-573-3000
frisbyd@edso.org
Jeff Cowen
Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
775-589-5278
jcowen@trpa.gov
Lisa Herron
USDA Forest Service
Lake Tahoe Basin Mgmt Unit
530-721-3898
lisa.herron@usda.gov
Mike Powers
Placer County Sheriff’s Office
530-392-0025
mpowers@placer.ca.gov


Keep Tahoe Bears Wild!

LAKE TAHOE, Calif./Nev. – Residents and visitors returning to the South Lake and West Shore areas of Lake Tahoe should be aware that bears have been seeking out human food sources during the evacuation and taking advantage of the lack of human presence. As you approach your residence, look and listen carefully for signs that a bear has been or is in your home. If a bear is in your home, call 911. Do not attempt to chase it out yourself. Your safety is your responsibility!

Repair Your Home ASAP

Please make repairs to damage caused by bears as soon as possible. Easy access and a food reward encourages them to come back. Keep doors and windows closed and locked when possible and board up any damage with sturdy plywood and screws until full repair can occur. If you see a bear outside your home, haze it with noise like an airhorn, even if they don’t run away. Keep them wild!

Don’t Give Food or Water to Bears

DO NOT provide food or water to bears; it is illegal, and it can lead to escalating nuisance behavior including break-ins and human-bear contact that may result in death of that bear. It is a natural process for young bears to separate from their mothers during summer breeding and before hibernation. It’s possible that family groups were separated but don’t assume that small or young bears are orphaned or in need of help. Although habitat was lost, bears can and will find natural resources in unburned areas of the Tahoe Basin and beyond. Bears need our respect, not our handouts!

What to Do with Your Trash

South Tahoe Refuse (STR) has been working hard to collect garbage that was left behind and are offering bear resistant dumpsters at drop sites for spoiled food. https://southtahoerefuse.com/  You can drop off household garbage free of charge at: Tahoe Douglas Fire Station #23, 193 Elks Point Rd., Zephyr Cove, Nev. - Mon-Fri, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. or STR Transfer Station, 2140 Ruth Ave., South Lake Tahoe, Calif. – 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.  (temporarily open seven days/week beginning Sept. 6, 2021). We need your help to ensure that bears don’t increase their dependency on people for food, especially as they head into hyperphagia (eating and drinking nonstop as they prepare for hibernation) this fall to prepare for winter. They are equipped to find high calorie natural foods, even after fire. Feed the dumpsters, not the bears!

Wildlife Is Resilient

Finally, some wildlife may be injured or burned as a result of the Caldor and other fires. However, wildlife is very resilient and many animals can recover and heal quickly on their own. Please report clear cases of distress to your local state agency for triage, such as an animal that is unable to walk or move on its own, appears emaciated, or orphaned. Plans are underway to facilitate this process. Eligible animals may be transferred for treatment and rehabilitation by licensed professionals. Do not approach or provide food or water to burned and injured animals. Your proximity may be adding stress. If you care, leave them there!

For assistance with property damage mitigation and/or reports of injured wildlife in California, please contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) North Central Region at 916-358-2900. For Nevada bear issues, please contact the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) at 775-688-1331. For more guidance and best practices on coexisting with black bears, please visit Keep Tahoe Bears Wild.

Bears in South Lake Tahoe break into an unattended RV.  Photo from California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

Bears in South Lake Tahoe break into an unattended RV.
Photo from California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

Photo from California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

Photo from California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.




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