Bear's last meal: Fresh goat

A 320-pound black bear that made the fatal mistake of thinking a domesticated goat was fair game spent his last hours in a locked cage at the Douglas County Jail sallyport before being euthanized Friday.

The grim task fell to Nevada Division of Wildlife biologist Carl Lackey who said the goat's owners made it easy for the bear to kill its prey.

"That poor bear," Lackey said. "I have to euthanize him because those people made it about as easy for the bear as possible. The goat was in an unprotected pen at night next to Clear Creek and in all the thick brush.

"The bear was doing what comes naturally. They are opportunistic predators. It had killed the goat and was going to eat it," Lackey said.

"If they (the owners) had taken the necessary precautions, the bear would be fine," Lackey said. "People up in that area still leave their trash out."

He said the goat's owners were upset that the bear had to be destroyed.

"They didn't want to see the bear killed, but we don't have much of a choice," he said. "Once bears develop a taste, they keep doing it."

The bear spent its final hours outside the Douglas County Jail building because Lackey said he had logistics problems between trapping another bear in a parking garage at Lake Tahoe and dispatching the Clear Creek bear.

Douglas County Sheriff's Sgt. Tom Mezzetta said Lackey contacted him to find out if the jail had a "shady, secure spot."

The animal, locked in a bear-proof cage, was housed outside the jail for a few hours Friday morning and never came in contact with any inmates.

Lackey picked up the bear about 12:30 p.m.

He said the bear would be tranquilized, then shot.

"I don't use drugs because then the animal has to be incinerated," he said. "I put the carcass out where scavengers can get to it. It goes back to the wild."

Lackey said he hoped people would learn from what happened to the bear and the goat.

"It's like Jurassic Park out there," he said.

He also said as long as people continue to leave food out for bears, or don't secure their trash, the problems would continue.

"I have never seen this bear before. He wasn't tagged," Lackey said. "Who knows where he came from? He could have been a garbage bear that has habituated to its surroundings. Or he could have lived up there a long time and have never gotten in trouble."


n Never approach or feed a bear, or any other wild animal.

n Use removable bird feeders for temporary placement.

n Keep pet food cleaned up, or indoors.

n Keep a close watch on children while they are outdoors, and teach them what to do if they encounter a bear.

n Use bear-proof garbage containers available through commercial dealers. Dumpsters with lockable metal lids work well, as do fencing enclosures made of chain link fencing or 2-by-4 framing.

n Spray or pour ammonia in and around garbage cans, and avoid placing aromatic food wastes, such as bacon grease or spoiled foods, in garbage cans.

n Wait until the morning of pick-up before placing garbage out.

n Feed pets indoors.

n Clean barbecue grills after use.

n Use electrical fencing combined with a tall, metal or wooden fence to protect orchards, fish ponds, beehives, compost piles, and livestock.

n Constant harassment with scare devices, loud noises or dogs will sometimes work.

n Don't feed wildlife. The feeding of any wildlife, including birds, may inadvertently attract bears.

Source: Nevada Department of Wildlife


Nevada Department of Wildlife


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