As spring slowly arrives in the Sierra Nevada and the promise of another nuisance bear season arrives, the Nevada Department of Wildlife is urging western Nevada residents to be "Bear Aware"
Since Feb. 22, four nuisance bears have been caught by NDOW personnel in Incline Village and Crystal Bay. Significant property damage to houses, cars and even a dry-docked boat was reported by property owners. In addition, the bears showed a lack of fear of humans, according to a Friday statement from NDOW. Three of the bears have been euthanized as dangerous or aggressive. One was caught, given aversive conditioning treatment and released.
"I commend citizens for taking precautions and urge them to continue to be aware," NDOW Director Ken Mayer said in the statement. "This is a public-safety issue and continued emphasis on public education and enforcement of bear-proof trash ordinances will help mitigate any issues."
NDOW has a "three strike" policy for nuisance bears that are found in urban areas, but are generally not causing damage or showing aggressive or unusual behavior. In these instances, bears are tranquilized and released. Most of the time these releases take place in the area near where the bear lives but, depending on the circumstance, the bear may be transported to an area outside of their estimated home range, according to the statement.
"At this time of year we see an unfortunate rise in human-wildlife conflicts, and recent encounters in the Lake Tahoe Basin demonstrate that safety and security must be our first priority," Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said in the statement.
People who want to learn more can visit NDOW's website at www.ndow.org and click the "Bear Aware" link.
During the first two weeks of April, deputies from the Douglas County and Lyon County sheriff's offices will conduct increased traffic enforcement patrols on various highways and roadways in the two counties, according to a Friday statement.
The increased patrols will specifically target distracted drivers and unsafe motorcycle riders.
National traffic studies have shown targeted patrols provide an increased risk of detection of violators, thereby reducing the number of drivers willing to risk committing violations, according to the statement.
"The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is committed to keeping the roads and highways of our community safe," said Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini. "As part of that effort, we will be conducting additional traffic enforcement details when resources allow, particularly targeting distracted drivers and unsafe motorcycle operators."
He reminded people that hands-free communication devices have been required in Nevada since Oct. 1.
This enforcement detail is partially paid for by a grant from the State of Nevada, Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety.