California and Nevada Wildlife Officials Team Up to Tackle Misinformation About Bears

Earlier this year, officials in the Tahoe area had to remind people about bear safety. Someone had posted flyers around town saying the bears were starving and needed help. The list of misinformation continued to a dangerous point. Now, wildlife officials from California and Nevada are partnering to create more bear awareness and end false information. 

In a news release from the California Department of Parks and Recreation, state wildlife officials say they are partnering with Nevada and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the U.S. Forest Service. Several other agencies are also involved. Together, they’re forming The Tahoe Interagency Bear Team (TIBT) to set the record straight.

“The TIBT is a collective of bear experts across state and local agencies who study and understand these animals and have devoted much of their professional lives to ensure the health and well-being of the Lake Tahoe Basin’s black bears,” says the release. “TIBT would like to set the record straight by debunking some of those claims and educating the public about the real issues and dangers this misinformation poses.”

Some false claims they’re working to debunk include that bears are starving. Wildlife officials say not only is feeding bears illegal in both states, but bears are capable of fending for themselves. 

Other misinformation includes that bears need help finding a den in the winter to hibernate. The press release says bears hibernating under home decks or crawl spaces can have significant consequences for homeowners, including extensive home damage.

Here’s a look at one of the flyers with misinformation about bears in Tahoe:

Contacting Wildlife Officials

Wildlife officials say the public should use them as a resource. Both agencies are easy to reach by phone:

  • California Dept. of Fish & Wildlife – 916-358-2917
  • Nevada Dept. of Wildlife – 916-358-1300

The state of California also has a way to report wildlife issues online by heading to this website.

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