Happy Holidays from the Tahoe Interagency Bear Team

LAKE TAHOE, Calif./Nev., Dec. 14, 2023 – We hope this winter season brings you all lots of cheer, warm memories, and time for rest and relaxation. However, it is not a time to let your guard down when it comes to living in or recreating responsibly in bear country. It’s important to keep in mind not all bears in the Lake Tahoe Basin will hibernate.
Hibernation, or torpor as it’s more accurately referred to in bears, is tightly related to resource availability. As natural food supplies continue to dwindle and snow gradually blankets the basin, bears should naturally go into hibernation to save energy and resources. However, bears that continue to find and access unnatural food sources like garbage, bird feeders, pet food, and other human attractants may bypass it altogether and stay active through the winter. This can create a reliance on human food that can be harmful for bears.   

Living, visiting, and recreating in bear country is a privilege that comes with year-round responsibilities. Here are just a few ways to help keep Tahoe bears wild into the winter months: 

  • Use bear-resistant garbage cans year-round. 
  • Remove bird feeders and pet food from outside. 
  • Block access to your crawlspace to prevent bears from using it as a winter den. See this video for information on how to secure your crawlspace: youtu.be/pvI2ZglHLfw?si=Lq2DG3aTWVpFPrPt

Learn more about keeping Tahoe bears wild at TahoeBears.org and BearWise.org. To report bear incidents or conflict in the Lake Tahoe Basin, use the following:  

  • In California, contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) at 916-358-2917 or report online using the Wildlife Incident Reporting (WIR) system at apps.wildlife.ca.gov/.
  • Non-emergency bear collisions in California State Parks can be reported to its public dispatch at 916-358-1300 
  • In Nevada, contact NDOW at 775-688-BEAR (2327)
  • If the issue is an emergency, call the local sheriff’s department or 911. 
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