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Black bear, cut on the loose

by Linda Hiller

A black bear sow and her two 8-month-old cubs were spotted in the south end of Carson Valley last week near Tillman Road.

By Sunday, one of the cubs was in the custody of Nevada Division of Wildlife biologists and the remaining sibling and mother were nowhere to be seen, according to NDOW biologist Carl Lackey.

“What happened was, some yahoos with police scanners heard the call Saturday night and went out and basically went out there and harassed the sow and separated her from at least one of her cubs,” Lackey said. “Now we’ve got this 8-month-old, 35 pound female cub who is still dependent on her mother, and we don’t know what we’re going to do with her.”

Lackey said the cub was tranquilized while in a tree on Waterloo Lane and Centerville Road and carried out of the tree by another NDOW agent. She remains in captivity while Lackey said he is searching for somewhere to place her.

“We’ve contacted Animal Ark, and they’re considering it, although they already have a bear, and we’ll contact other zoos, but black bears are pretty common,” he said. “What I’d really like to do is find the sow and other cub – that would be perfect – then we could release all three of them together.”

Fall means bear calls. Lackey said NDOW has been following up on the usual high number of fall bear calls as the large mammals scramble for food before hibernating.

“We’ve had calls from Topaz, Spring Valley, and the usual calls from the Lake Tahoe basin,” Lackey said. “We had a 6-year-old, 280-pound male hit by a car at Topaz last week.”

Lackey said he didn’t think the Valley sow and her two cubs were “garbage bears.”

“I think these were wild bears just working their way down the river,” he said. “That’s what the (mountain) lions do, too. There’s plenty of natural food available this year.”

Lackey said he has a culvert live trap set for the sow and cub, but no one has seen the pair since Saturday night.

“If she’s around and we can trap her, it would be the best thing for all of them,” he said. “It’s just unfortunate they had to be separated. It wasn’t the county’s fault.”

Anyone sighting a mother and cub is urged to call the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, 782-9911 or 911. For information, call NDOW at (775) 423-3171 or 687-4393.