California Wildlife Authorities Facing Backlash Over Campaign to Euthanize 500-Pound Black Bear

by Shelby Scott
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This is the story of a 500-pound California black bear named Yogi. However, contrary to his name, he’s not just in trouble for stealing picnic baskets. After multiple counts of property destruction, CA wildlife authorities are facing backlash from Lake Tahoe residents regarding efforts to euthanize the bear.

According to the New York Post, the bear, affectionately deemed “chonky” by the outlet, has been the source of more than 150 calls between law enforcement and wildlife authorities. Peter Tira, a representative from the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, detailed the actions of the problem bear. Until this point, he has been wreaking havoc in the Tahoe Keys neighborhood.

“This one individual bear has been linked to property damage at 38 different properties at least,” Tira said.

In efforts to detain the destructive creature, authorities have set up traps, though Yogi is smarter than the average bear. So far, amid his search for snacks, Yogi has not only caused extensive property damage. He has also “forcefully entered several homes, including occupied homes.”

As a result, authorities have called for the animal’s euthanization.

“The trapping activity is a measure of last resort to capture and euthanize a specific and what we call a severely habituated or human-food conditioned black bear,” Tira stated.

California Locals Vandalize Government Bear Trap

In response to authorities’ efforts, locals have begun taking measures of their own. Many have begun playing loud music to scare the bear away. Others have more directly confronted trappers’ efforts, spray-painting “Bear Killer” on the government’s trap.

Attempting to quell the feud, advocates from bear activist group, the BEAR League, have offered to provide the animal sanctuary.

Executive Director Ann Bryant stated, “The BEAR League reached out to the director of an excellent out-of-state wildlife sanctuary who agreed he has room and would be very willing to give this bear a permanent home.”

In regard to the ongoing issue, she continued, “We notified [the California Department of Fish and Wildlife] on Tuesday morning asking that this option be seriously considered rather than killing the bear.”

Pennsylvania Black Bear Population Sees Further Declination

While Yogi awaits his fate, black bears in Pennsylvania face an altogether different issue.

Given black bears’ adaptability, they thrive in a multitude of environments. However, Pennsylvania’s vast forests and mountainous landscapes provide an ideal environment for the curious creatures.

Now though, their population in the Northeastern state has faced rapid decline. Its population shrank this year for the second year in a row.

Initially, PA boasted a population of 20,000 black bears. However, in just two years, that number has been on a significant decline, currently amounting to 15,666.

Fortunately, however, the decline isn’t something to be too concerned about. PA Game Commission black bear specialist Emily Carollo attributes the decline to harvests within the last two years. She stated, “This follows the life history [and] reproductive strategy of black bears.”

Outsider.com