INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The Nevada Department of Wildlife killed a black bear on Tuesday after it was deemed a public safety threat for displaying overly bold behavior at North Lake Tahoe.
NDOW spokesman Chris Healy confirmed the 9-year-old, 450-pound male bear was captured some time overnight Monday off of Village Boulevard in Incline Village.
It was tranquilized and put down on Tuesday.
The bruin has become a nuisance to Incline Village homes and businesses, Healy said, by becoming more aggressive in its search for food by breaking into cars and trash cans.
It even “aggressively knocked over a fence to get better access to human food,” he said.
“It was progressively becoming more aggressive, and when you have a 450-pound aggressive bear, it was definitely a public safety challenge,” Healy said. “Bears don’t just have to break into a house and threaten people to be deemed a public safety nuisance.”
The same bear was captured in 2008 in Incline Village, Healy said, and was tagged and released back into the wild.
“He was a much smaller bear then — 450 pounds is not normal, “ he said. “If it was a wildland bear, it wouldn’t be that big, so it’s definitely been a bear that’s had more access to human calories than it should.”
Healy said this is the fourth bear NDOW has killed since the beginning of 2015 because of safety reasons, and the first in the Lake Tahoe area. Two were killed near Gardnerville (April 1 and Aug. 13), and a third near Genoa on July 17.
In 2014, only one bear in the region was killed for safety reasons.
Since 1997, the department has killed 107 bears that were deemed nuisances or public safety threats to the public, Healy said.
“People have to think like a bear — they simply can’t be making garbage available to bears,” Healy said. “Once they do, the bear’s behavior progresses to the point where we have to make this difficult call.
“We don’t make these decisions willy-nilly. We don’t enjoy doing it, but we also have the responsibility for public safety, and we have to make the call.”
Further, 12 Nevada bears have been hit and killed by vehicles this year, Healy said. Since 1997, that makes 200 vehicle-aided bear deaths.