The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently ended a multi-trap effort to remove a public safety bear from Lake Tahoe’s North Shore after the trapping effort proved unsuccessful and there were no more signs of the offending bear in the community.
The trapping effort was initiated last month by CDFW law enforcement following a bear attack of a victim inside his North Shore home. On August 27, a bear entered an occupied residence and severely bit a male victim, who was trying to encourage the bear to leave the house. It was an unprovoked attack. The bear had an exit, began to move toward the exit, and then turned back away from the exit into the house to bite the victim.
Between September 5 and 13, forensic evidence (DNA matches from samples collected at the house) proved the attack was caused by the same bear responsible for four other break-ins into occupied homes – and into one house twice the same night.
As with all public safety incidents, the decision to trap and remove the bear was made by CDFW law enforcement. CDFW law enforcement is required to investigate and make a decision regarding trapping a public safety animal based on interviews, physical evidence and the totality of the circumstances surrounding an incident. Public safety is among CDFW’s chief responsibilities with regard to black bears in Lake Tahoe. This was not a depredation event.
CDFW obtained approval from all property owners where bear traps were set. Property owners were fully supportive and cooperative with the trapping effort. Two bears that entered the traps during the effort were tagged and safely released after DNA analysis proved they were not the offending, public safety bear.
The trapping effort was active for two weeks. After CDFW determined that acquiring the target bear was unlikely, the traps were removed. CDFW communicated this to interested Tahoe residents on September 23. CDFW continues to monitor the North Shore community for bear activity and is poised to collect and analyze any forensic evidence from any further break-ins. CDFW will reinstall traps if necessary to protect the safety of the Lake Tahoe community.