According to the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), bear complaints have risen sharply in the last ten years, due in part to the increase in people living in bear habitat.
NDOW recognizes that bears rummaging through garbage cans or foraging on fruit trees may constitute a nuisance, and frighten residents. But, first, it is the residents' responsibility to remove or make the attractant inaccessible before further steps are taken by NDOW.
As many homeowners have found out, bears are opportunistic and will eat anything that becomes available, including garbage. Why? Drought conditions or other climatic occurrences may limit the quantity and quality of natural food sources, leading bears to seek other food sources, like human garbage. The black bear's amazing sense of smell allows them to find food that humans consider out of reach.
Things such as garbage, compost piles, bird feeders, fish ponds, pet food, camp food, fruit trees, barbecue grills or bee hives may attract bears. These are by far the most common reasons for bear/ human conflicts. By removing these attractants, bear and humans are less likely to have unpleasant encounters.
When people are irresponsible with their food and garbage, bears can wind up in trouble. Bears naturally fear humans, but if they have access to human food sources they may become addicted, lose their natural fear of humans, and even become aggressive.
Living in bear country requires that residents take extra precautions and BE BEAR AWARE.
For information, call the Nevada Department of Wildlife at 688-1500 during regular business hours.