TAHOE (CBS13) — A Tahoe homeowner fed up with bear invasions is taking matters into his own hands.
Through a state permit, officials provided a bear trap that the man now has outside his home, but some neighbors and bear advocates are furious.
Bears typically are seen in Tahoe and the foothills because it’s their natural habitat. CBS13 has covered a number of bear break-ins in the region.
But officials say these permitted traps are rarely given out and some want it removed.
“It’s night, the bears are active, at any moment one of those innocent bears can go into that trap and his or her life is over,” Ann Bryant said.
The picture to the left shows the trap Ann Bryant with the Bear League is referring to.
One homeowner is reportedly fed up with bears breaking into his car, so he arranged to have the trap set up by the Department of Fish and Wildlife in front of his North Shore home.
“For one person to take something that is a jewel to the rest of the people in the community, and have our Department of Wildlife to go along with that is just a travesty,” Bryant said.
She says just on Thursday, neighbors had to shoo away a mama bear and her cubs who were getting dangerously close to the trap.
“[I’m] very worried about her, she has never been a problem,” Bryant said.
In Lake Tahoe, especially during the tourist season, car break-ins involving bears are quite common, and Bryant says this homeowner is not doing his part.
“He’s had bears in his vehicle three times, cause he has food there, he doesn’t lock it,” Bryant said.
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office and officials do warn residents to lock all vehicles and keep food out. Just a few months ago, a bear was lured into a home after berries were left out on the counter. You see it making himself comfortable in the living room with two boys nearby.
“It was the scariest moment of both of our lives, we had no idea what to do,” said Bobby Harden.
Bryant says permits for traps are rarely handed out. She says if someone has seen damage to their home or car, and their damage has been verified and investigated by California Fish and Wildlife, then they can request a depredation permit for a trap. She feels this homeowner was not upfront with officials.
“In discussing this with Department of Wildlife, they didn’t get the whole story,” Bryant said.
Now there’s a concern this trap will do its job.
“It’s upsetting cause one of these bears are gonna die and none of them have to,” Bryant said.
She says one bear has been trapped and killed this year.
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the permit allows someone to kill the offending bear regardless of the time of year, but a permit is the last step in a series of steps taken to eliminate the problem.
Once the bear is trapped and verified, it’s taken away to be killed.