The BEAR (Bear Education Aversion Response) League of the Lake Tahoe region is a community based volunteer organization established in 1998. The BEAR League believes “People living in harmony with bears” is attainable by educating the public about the gentle nature of these intelligent animals. The BEAR League often acts as first responders to human-bear conflicts and tries to resolve the issues non-invasively. To ensure the future of black bears remaining wild in Tahoe, the work of the BEAR League is now more important than ever.
The American black bear is one of the most common types of bear in the world. With seasonal wildfires in the area and regional droughts over the past few years, bears have been leaving the mountains at increased rates in search of food or water. When residents and visitors leave food out or easily accessible, it causes conflict that can lead to depredation for bears.
Fortunately the BEAR League has a large group of members working holistically with the community to solve many of the challenges that put bears at risk. Educating the public to prevent attracting bears with food has proven successful. Additionally if bears have become accustomed to seeking human food, there are nonlethal aversion methods that can be implemented to deter them.
Outreach and Education
The BEAR League teaches that black bears are quiet, gentle, and intelligent animals that would rather flee than fight. The League reaches out to the community when a situation arises, reinforcing the goals and protocols that will keep both bears and humans safe. They teach people to be proactive about not attracting bears. Working within the community to consistently implement these goals makes neighborhoods less attractive to bears.
The BEAR League works with teams of trained aversion specialists, local law enforcement, Animal Control, and California Fish and Game (CFG) Officers to keep bears out of places they do not belong. By installing low voltage electric fences and “bear scare mats” bears learn to stop seeking out homes as sources of food.
Anyone with a bear problem can call the BEAR League hotline (530) 525-PAWS, which is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They will respond if the bear is present or gone and will coach people over the phone on immediate actions they can take to stay safe. The BEAR League strives to help put people at ease and prevent future human-animal conflict problems.
The BEAR League inspires and informs policy changes at the state and local levels. They monitor for policies that are critical to the lives of bears or will prevent people and bears living in harmony. Additionally, BEAR League acts to initiate scientific research and use of common-sense based programs to maintain harmony between humans and bears.
Outreach and Education
Oakland Zoo’s California Trail features a family of black bears with a special back story. After becoming habituated to humans, this mother and her cubs began entering neighborhood homes in search of food, creating a serious human wildlife conflict. By working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oakland Zoo was able to provide a “forever home” for this bear family and prevent further risks to human population in this neighborhood.