People + food + bears equals a dangerous mix |

People + food + bears equals a dangerous mix

Today, Douglas County commissioners will discuss expanding an ordinance requiring bear-proof trash cans for East Fork residents who’ve had documented instances when a bear has raided their trash.

If commissioners approve the ordinance, it will be the first time any such limitation has been placed on Nevada residents outside of the Lake Tahoe basin.

The ordinance will only apply outside of the town boundaries of Minden and Gardnerville, which both provide their own trash service.

Not a week goes by that multiple bear sightings aren’t called in to law enforcement.

About 80 bears have been captured, and, sadly, eight of them have been euthanized, including three captured in Pine View Estates last week. That mother and two cubs had been fed by two residents, and after learning that people have food, the bears started breaking into the places where people live to find food.

We’ve had calls from residents afraid that trick-or-treaters will find themselves being rousted by bears looking for free sweets.

The issue is serious, and conflicts with bears are certain to increase as winter approaches and the animals try to gather enough calories to survive. As the number of conflicts increases, so does the chance that a person will be hurt or killed. And that would be very bad for bears.

The bear-proof trash can ordinance is not a magic wand that will make the bears go back to the woods. It is a reminder that helping bears means denying them access to our food. While an open garbage can may feed a bear for a day, being around people for any length of time will ensure their destruction.

This editorial appeared in

The Record-Courier