Lake Tahoe residents have seen a spate of break-ins by bears recently, with the furry intruders busting into four homes over the course of two days.
Last week, four homes on the Lake Tahoe West Shore experienced bear break-ins. The animals managed to break the door jambs on the houses’ front doors and clamber into the homes, Fox 40 reports.
In Placer County, California, officials put residents on alert and released a list of guidelines to keep people safe.
Encounters With Bears Are Increasing
Human-bear interactions are on the rise lately. And there are several factors at work. For one thing, California’s population is ballooning, increasing the likelihood that humans will expand into bears’ territory.
For another, wildlife officials are concerned that California’s severe drought may be pushing bears to explore places where they can find more water.
The state’s drought is so extreme that its effects can be seen from space. NASA recently released satellite images showing Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville during June of 2021 and in June of 2019. The former’s lake level has plummeted 106 feet since 2019; the latter’s lake level has dropped by 190 feet.
Officials List Bear Safety Guidelines
Authorities are warning people that summertime is prime bear-encounter season. But there are a few things people can do to try to stay safe given the circumstances.
“Summertime brings increased numbers of visitors, more human food more garbage and more people sharing space with bears,” the Placer County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “Be vigilant with food and trash storage whether at home, the beach, campgrounds, picnic areas or trailheads. Enjoy wildlife from a distance.”
Here are the authorities’ guidelines for safe behavior when bears are in the area:
- It’s against the law to feed bears directly or indirectly by giving them access to food or garbage.
- Don’t leave food – including pet food – or beverages inside your car or outside your home.
- Use bear-resistant garbage cans. Remember to keep them latched and don’t overfill them.
- While in the backcountry, store food in bear-resistant canisters or storage lockers.
- Only hike in groups and keep small children close to you.
- Keep dogs on leashes. Free-roaming dogs can provoke bear attacks.
- Look out for signs of bears, including bear waste along trails or claw marks on trees.
- Make noise when you’re hiking the trials so bears know to avoid you.
- Never try to approach bears or cubs, and never ever get between a sow and her cubs.
- Don’t let young bears get comfortable around humans. If they get close, make loud noises to scare them away.