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Group considers food drops to draw bears away from developed

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Group considers food drops to draw bears away from developed

Postby copeg » Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:49 am

Group considers food drops to draw bears away from developed areas at Lake Tahoe

By Associated Press
San Jose Mercury News
Article Launched:09/02/2007 03:25:15 PM PDT

TRUCKEE - A sharp increase in bear-human conflicts this summer is prompting a bear advocacy group to consider backcountry food drops for the animals at Lake Tahoe.

Ann Bryant, executive director of the Lake Tahoe-based BEAR League, said her group is seeking permission from the California Department of Fish and Game to use food to lure bears away from developed areas.

A lack of precipitation has led to a shortage of natural food, forcing bruins into towns in search of human food. A record 20 bears have died after being hit by vehicles in the Lake Tahoe area so far this year.

"We are going to do backcountry food drops, putting natural food back into the backcountry," Bryant told Truckee's Sierra Sun newspaper. "We have hundreds and hundreds of pounds of food we plan to put in several locations that won't bring the bears near neighborhoods."

Bryant said similar programs have been successful in other states, including Alaska and Montana.

Jason Holley, a biologist for the state wildlife agency, agreed that a scarcity of food is driving bears into populated areas. But feeding bears runs contrary to the department's policy, he said.

"It's an unnatural situation that forces bears to congregate. Who knows what long-term problems that could create," Holley said. "If the smell of people is on the food, they could be more likely to associate people with food in the future, and they could become more susceptible to hunters."

He said no real solution may exist and residents instead must maintain vigilance.

"It's just a bad situation, but people should keep doing the usual things, like proper food and garbage storage, securing their homes, having pets with you," Holley said.

In addition to keeping bears away from urban areas, Bryant said backcountry food drops would improve the animals' health by providing better nutrition.

"The bears are so hungry they are coming into people's homes, so we hope to get permission to do this - if not just for the bears, for homeowners, too," Bryant said.

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Wild Idea

Postby frediver » Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:56 pm

Who knows, their idea might work, who's going to pay for it?

Here is another wild idea.
Year around bear hunting with high power CO2 rifles and pepper balls.
Get as many people in the woods year round to whack them with pepper.
Also consider the old style dog trap instead of cyanide gas use pepper gas. IMO nothing will change until bears are afraid of humans.
Once feeding starts it will need to continue? What will bears do once the
cycle of human food is broken and feed stations replace it? What happens
if the feeding stops then?
I know this idea would never fly but IMO we need to be more aggressive with bears, not bribe them to go away.
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Postby quentinc » Mon Sep 03, 2007 5:09 pm

Heck, we did it in Afghanistan and Darfur. I don't see why we can't do it at Tahoe.

(Seriously, this HAS to be a joke, doesn't it? In any event, I like Frediver's idea better.)
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Postby rightstar76 » Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:04 pm

I like both ideas. Scare them away and feed them. That will reinforce them to stay in the backcountry and away from Tahoe.
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Postby rockinrocker » Wed Sep 05, 2007 4:13 pm

I dunno I would be worried about the animals getting used to it...then what happens when it stops?
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