New Documentary Follows the Lives of ‘Urbanized’ Bears in Lake Tahoe

Photo via Riley McClaughry

Bear sightings in the communities surrounding Lake Tahoe have grown at an astonishing rate in the past few years. Flocking to the area during the summer months in search of human food provided by tourists, bears have become accustomed to the Tahoe life and the benefits of living in the beautiful area.

Now, we can see the lives of these bears up close.

Riley McClaughry spent an entire year following bears throughout the Tahoe region, documenting their routine in the wild along with their “urbanization” with the human population. The result of his documentation is the short documentary “The Backyard Bears,” which provides a great look at how these gentle giants cohabitate with humans in Tahoe.

Here’s what McClaughry wrote about his documentary:

“From June till December of 2022, I spent every moment I could out in the field documenting the Black Bear population in Lake Tahoe, and it’s really sad to see what we’ve done to them. Seeing the difference between wildland bears and urbanized bears really highlights the issue. The classic “Tahoe Bear” that any visitor or local may see on the day to day may look super fat and healthy to the eye. But it’s unrealistic for a black bear, and they’re getting all that weight and size from our garbage. When bears become food conditioned like this, it often serves as a death sentence to the bear, and they’ll end up getting euthanized down the road for getting into too much trouble. If we’re going to enjoy beautiful places like Lake Tahoe, we need to do our part in protecting, and keeping the wildlife living here wild!”

It’s great to have people like Riley to document these beautiful animals. Watch the entire documentary:

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