Recent flyers seen on street poles along Highway 50 near Lake Tahoe are telling people to help the local bear population by feeding them. Wildlife officials are strongly refuting those claims as “false and extremely harmful misinformation that is detrimental for bears.”
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has issued a scathing warning regarding the flyers.
“Bears are perfectly capable of surviving on their own, and are far better off without any human hand outs,” wrote the CDFW in a statement. “By intentionally feeding bears, people are conditioning those bears to associate humans and homes with food sources. These bears, baited by unsecured food and garbage, are being conditioned to cross the boundary of safe behavior by approaching people, houses, cars, etc. to seek out that food reward. This changes bears natural behaviors and greatly increases the potential for conflict situations.”
There’s growing concern in Lake Tahoe tonight after dozens of these flyers were found hung around the area encouraging people to feed the bears. Experts say it’s dangerous to both the bears & humans. I have the story at 11 @abc7newsbayarea pic.twitter.com/rcQREMNHcb— Tim Johns (@tim_johns_) January 5, 2024
Local environmental enthusiasts and volunteers from The Save the Bears League spent hours removing the flyers on the roadway. The entire local community of Lake Tahoe seemed infuriated with the bizarre flyers, with some people surmising they may actually be a joke.
The CDFW emphasizes that coexistence between communities and bears in bear country is only possible when people adhere to certain fundamental principles. These include refraining from feeding wildlife, ensuring that garbage and other attractants are kept out of reach of bears and other wildlife, and familiarizing oneself with best practices when residing in bear country.
Living in an area inhabited by bears is a privilege that carries a responsibility to protect these magnificent creatures and the community. By respecting the boundaries between humans and wildlife, individuals can help ensure the harmonious coexistence of both.