Lake Tahoe's Battle With Black Bears

yes, even the brown bears are brave!
yes, even the brown bears are brave!
This container is not bear proof
This container is not bear proof
After a bear visit
After a bear visit
Not always a menace
Not always a menace

The black bear is a frequent resident in California's alpen-like Lake Tahoe area. Surrounded by stunning mountain vistas, world class ski resorts and just across the state line-gambling in Nevada. As the population grows, the bear's once homes are being replaced by human homes and the bears do not like that.

At Incline Village, a town of 9000, is crawling with black bears causing all sorts of mayhem for residents. They pillage around for food, smash car windows to get, climb in dumpsters to get it, push doors open to get it and just have become rather immune and bold with their human neighbors. So far, the town has had 66 conflicts with bears, up 38% from last year.

The problem is really a human problem because many residents either do not have or cannot afford the more expensive bear-proof garbage container, which would remove the problem. These containers are like steel boxes for trash. The town cannot mandate that all owners have them because of their cost, so many have the usual trash can that bears just love. The cost is around $250 and would increase the garbage collection rate by 40%, even businesses would have to convert to a bear proof dumpster, even more costly.

Thus, the solution is just economics and only humans can solve this, the bears just want food. Some residents are using guns to scare the bears away, but killing them is more of a legal question, so many shoot rubber bullets, which seem very effective. One bear, a huge black monolith, broke into the same home three times!

Now, this raises the question of who is smarter? The bear or human? Who has a learning deficit, the human or bear?

I think we know the answer.

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