After aversion conditioning treatment, bear to be released tomorrow
The Nevada Department of Wildlife captured a black bear in Verdi early in the morning of Tuesday July 23 in the Gold Ranch area of Verdi. The bear was captured in a culvert trap set near a residence where the six to seven year old male bear was doing some damage to property. The bear weighed an estimated 325 pounds and had never before been handled by NDOW.
"This bear has never been in trouble before, making it a perfect candidate for our aversion conditioning program," said black bear biologist Carl Lackey. "We will release it tomorrow morning (July 24) near the area where it was captured. We’ll shoot rubber bullets at it and chase it with Karelian bear dogs, using all of the tools available to us in our aversion conditioning program. The goal is to make the bear uncomfortable and make it think twice before coming back to civilization."
Lackey stated that on-site releases and the chance to use aversion conditioning on the bear gives NDOW a chance to "save" the bear from becoming a dangerous bear in the future. "Because the people needing help called us first, giving us the chance to intervene now at the time when the bear first gets into trouble, we have a chance to alter its behavior."
NDOW has saved nearly 400 bears using aversive conditioning treatment since the technique was first employed in the late 1990s. "The key to saving these bears is that we receive a phone call from the public right when the bear shows up in a neighborhood," said Lackey. "When we’re allowed to do our job from the beginning, without interference from outside groups, we can save most bears."
Today (July 23), NDOW plans on setting a trap in Incline Village in response to complaints of a nuisance bear in one of the forested neighborhoods of that community. "Unfortunately, we’ve had people sabotaging our traps, keeping us from capturing the nuisance bears in Incline Village," said Chris Healy, Public Information Officer for NDOW. "Instead of saving bears, the individuals and groups interfering with our public safety mission could be creating more aggressive and dangerous bears that are being allowed to become habituated to humans. For the sake of public safety and common sense, the deliberate sabotaging of traps needs to stop."
Persons needing to report nuisance bear activity can call the NDOW’s Bear Hotline telephone number at (775) 688-BEAR (2327). For information on living with bears persons can go to www.ndow.org and find the "Bear Logic" page on the website.