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‘Bears Are Perfectly Capable of Surviving on Their Own:’ Wildlife Officials Respond to Misinformation Spread Around Tahoe

Wildlife officials in California are reminding people to avoid feeding bears after someone posted flyers full of dangerous misinformation around town.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the posters around the Lake Tahoe Basin encourage people to feed the bears by giving them access to their garbage. The flyer suggests that bears in the area need the trash in order “to survive.” State officials say this couldn’t be more wrong.

“Bears are perfectly capable of surviving on their own and far better off without any human handouts,” said CDFW in a social media post. “By intentionally feeding bears, people are quickly conditioning those bears to associate humans and homes as food sources.”

Conditioning bears puts both human and bear lives in danger. Bears will get too close to people, and unfortunately, wildlife officials need to take action. In many cases, it can involve euthanizing the animal. 

tahoe bears
(Source: Cristina Glebova)

Local media reports who shared the flyer say it says, “The black bears of Lake Tahoe are some of the most marginalized and oppressed species of life. They spend most of their life going from garbage can to garbage can, finding it locked due to selfish, heartless human beings … leaving the bear with absolutely no choice but to starve to death or attempt a home invasion.”

Fortunately, many locals in the area told reporters they took action and began tearing down the signs.

No word on who may be posting the flyers.

Protecting People and Bears

Whether living in Tahoe or any other area with a large bear population, people must take action daily to protect themselves and wildlife. 

Some steps include:

  • Lock your doors when you’re away from home and at night.
  • Keep the bottom floor windows of your house closed when you’re not at home.
  • Do not keep food in your vehicle; roll up windows and lock the doors of your cars.
  • Keep trash cans locked and secured in a shed or garage.
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