As Bear Activity Increases, Wildlife Authorities in Reno Are Warning Locals to Be Cautious
NEVADA – Residents of Reno are being warned by the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and the Reno Police Department (RPD) to be on the lookout for bears.
The National Drought Office for Western Nevada (NDOW) and the Reno Police Department (RPD) report an uptick in bear-related calls across the city as the bears near the end of hyperphagia, a period bears go through from August to late November, during which they consume enormous quantities of food in order to fatten up for the winter.
Every year in the fall, NDOW Bear Biologist Heather Reich says, “we get calls from folks reporting bears in or surrounding neighborhoods from Verdi down to Topaz Lake and across to Hawthorne” (when bears spend all their time and energy building up an average of 20,000 calories a day). “At this time of year, bears are driven by their primal needs to the valleys, where they can find the last of the season’s berries, as well as insects, carrion, and other foods that can help them fill out their fat stores. Garbage, fruit trees, bird feeders, and other unsecured neighborhood attractants give bears an easy feast, albeit human food sources should not be included.
Last week, a bear was spotted by a homeowner’s security camera in the pond of his Reno, Nevada, property.
Midway through November is when bears in western Nevada enter torpor (the first stage of hibernation), but it’s not uncommon for males to delay den entry until the middle of December. Therefore, NDOW officials advise keeping a watchful eye out to keep bears away from homes. Irrigation ditches and natural ravines provide bears with an easy route into the heart of downtown Reno.
When food becomes scarce during the winter, “bears instinctively hibernate,” Reich explained. Food supply is a far more important factor than climate. If there is an abundance of food in the area, a bear will not need to dig a den.
To help preserve bears in their natural habitats, NDOW recommends everyone take the following actions:
- Secure your garbage: 95% of bear calls are garbage related. Securing and bear proofing your trash is the best thing you can do to deter bears and keep them wild. Washoe County Waste Management offers bear-resistant garbage cans that can be left out. You can request one by calling (775) 329-8822. In the meantime, keep your garbage cans stored in a locked shed or garage and only put it out the morning of trash pickup.
- Be aware: Washoe County has a garbage ordinance in place which requires residents to secure their trash to prevent bears from getting into them. Failure to do so can result in fines. Repeated violations can be reported to (775) 328-6101.
- Remove bird feeders from dusk to dawn.
- Remove other attractants from your yard (fruit from fruit trees, pet food, clean dirty barbeques, trash, and all other food/scented items.)
- As a precaution remove food, trash, and other scented items from vehicles. Keep vehicle windows up and doors locked when not in use.
- Install electric fencing around beehives, chicken coops, and livestock. For more information visit here.
- If you see bears near your home, scare them away: From an open window or safe distance, yell loudly and/or bang pots and pans. Yelling things like “Hey bear!”, “Go bear!”, “Get out of here bear!” alerts those around you to what’s going on. You can also trigger your car alarm to try to scare them off as well. These methods can help “negatively condition” bears to humans and houses and teach them that it is not okay to enter these areas.
For more information and resources for living in bear country, visit the NDOW website.
Credits: Fox Reno
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