Please don’t feed the bears | RecordCourier.com

Please don’t feed the bears

Cartoon bears are cute and hanker over picnic baskets, but real bears are looking for any source of food and we aren't helping them out by leaving our garbage out overnight.

Bears are intelligent, adaptable creatures, that consume huge amounts of calories in order to sleep through the winter.

We throw things away that bears find delicious. Between garbage, birdfeeders, fruit trees and pet food, bears are learning we are an easy source of food.

Why care what the bears do with garbage?

Because if bears learn we have food, they might skip the garbage cans and start heading for the good stuff.

That means breaking into homes, cars, sauntering into restaurants and all the other things black bears have actually done over the last few years.

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It also means undoing all the work Nevada Wildlife biologists have done to try and discourage bears from coming down into the neighborhoods looking for food.

We care about the bears. We love that bears call Douglas County home, and that's why it's imperative that bears know to stay away from people, because we will love the bears to death.

Douglas County was the first jurisdiction in Nevada to extend an ordinance requiring people who have bears on their trash on multiple occasions to get a bear proof garbage can.

Bears used to getting food from people will teach that behavior to their young. It won't just alter their behavior, but their life cycle as well.

That means instead of going to sleep during the winter, they might start looking for food from us year-around.

Wildlife officials say that a fed bear is a dead bear, so please don't feed the bears, even if that means keeping your trash in until collection time.