Now that the snow has sufficiently melted and spring has sprung, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has resumed Trap-Tag-Haze efforts in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
Since 2017, CDFW has caught, tagged, collected DNA and released 36 bears as part of its Trap-Tag-Haze bear research and management efforts in the Basin.
This spring, CDFW will focus initially on the South Lake Tahoe area, where a few different bears have broken into homes since the summer of 2021. Although reports have slowed, these bears have caused significant property damage throughout the neighborhood known as the Tahoe Keys.
If the large bear that recently garnered significant media attention is trapped, it will be evaluated by CDFW veterinarians for release into the wild. A release site in appropriate bear habitat has already been identified that should provide the bear plenty of habitat to transition to wild bear behaviors. The bear will be monitored with a satellite tracking collar that will help determine if the management effort is effective.
All other bears captured will be ear-tagged and hazed upon release (loudly chased to provide a negative association with humans and habituated behavior).
DNA evidence collected through Trap-Tag-Haze efforts already has shown interesting family relatedness among bears displaying similar activity. In other words, mother bears are likely teaching negative and nuisance behaviors to their offspring.
Some monitored bears have successfully acclimated to wild habitats outside of town while others have returned and continued to exhibit habituated behaviors, which means associating people, homes, cars, campgrounds, coolers and the like as sources of food.
Following the South Lake Tahoe Trap-Tag-Haze efforts, CDFW will move the operation to the western and northern sides of the Basin. The video below further explains CDFW’s innovative Trap-Tag-Haze program.