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Tahoe's Bears Prepare to Hibernate

TitleTahoe's Bears Prepare to Hibernate
Author/CreatorCobourn, John; Purdy, Shelly; Segale, Heather M.
Related item(s)Press Release available at
Date Original2003-10-20
Summary/DescriptionLake Tahoe Report Segment #44 - "Living in Bear Country" (Air date: December 2, 2003). As the number of people who live and visit the Tahoe region increases, their presence affects the local bear population. Easier access to resources like garbage is changing natural denning ecology, which means that some bears aren't hibernating when they should.
SubjectBears -- Effect of human beings on -- Tahoe, Lake, Region (Calif. and Nev.)
LocationLake Tahoe (Calif. and Nev.)
Tahoe, Lake (Calif. and Nev.)
CollectionThe Lake Tahoe Report
Original PublisherLake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition (
Electronic PublisherUniversity of Nevada, Reno - Department of Teaching and Learning Technologies
Ordering and Permissions InformationFor more information, contact the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, or 775-832-4138.
Date Digital2004-12-06
RelationRequires Windows Media Player
Resource TypeMoving Image
Contributing InstitutionUniversity of Nevada, Reno
TranscriptionSegment 44 "Living in Bear Country" Air date: 12/2/03 Anchor Intro: Even though the weather may have turned cold and snow is on the ground in the mountains, most of the bears in the Tahoe area still have not bedded down for the winter. In tonight's Lake Tahoe Report, Shelly Purdy explains why. ((take pkg)) ((track 1)) This is home video of a black bear at Incline Village. It's garbage day, and he's looking for an easy meal. Rummaging through the trash is proving to be a much easier way to get food for many bears. And, local wildlife biologists say that is changing bears? natural denning ecology. Translation: some bears aren?t hibernating when they should. ((sot @ 2:16 Carl Lackey, Nevada Division of Wildlife)) "One thing we've really noticed in the Tahoe Basin and on the east side of the Carson Range - the year round supply in the form of human garbage can keep and has kept these bears active all winter long." ((track 2)) Because snowfall and cold temperatures alone aren't what make bears go into hibernation. They go to sleep when the food supply runs out. ((sot @ 1:57)) "If there's a year round supply of food or food throughout the year they don?t have to hibernate at all." ((track 3)) This time of year, most bears are working to put on up to 25-thousand calories a day. That means they are constantly eating and looking for food. Your garbage can is an easy target. ((sot @ 4:13)) "Everybody living in this area in bear habitat really should have bear proof containers. Short of that, wait till the morning of pickup to put your garbage out." ((track 4)) Because garbage bears often become trouble-making bears. In Nevada, garbage bears are caught, tagged and sent on their way with a nose full of pepper spray and pellets in their butt. The hope is to make these dumpster divers afraid of people and encourage them to find their food in the forest, not the trash bin. With the Lake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition, I'm Shelly Purdy for KOLO News Channel 8. Anchor Tag: State wildlife biologists have now tracked two generations of garbage bears in the Tahoe Basin. Mothers are teaching their cubs to look for food in trash cans.

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