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Nevada drought proves deadly for bears near Tahoe

Loss of small streams forces bears to move into urban neighborhoods in search of food.
Loss of small streams forces bears to move into urban neighborhoods in search of food.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Nevada’s continuing drought is having a devastating affect on thirsty bears venturing too close to humans around homes and businesses near Lake Tahoe, NV as most of the mountain creeks in the area have been reduced to “mere trickles” after three years of (unusually) dry conditions, according to local officials such as Chris Healy Nevada a spokesman for Department of Wildlife spokesperson, who told the Associated press that, "We're calling a lot of these 'drought' bears." They want to be wild, they are doing their best to be wild and trying to stay up in the hills, but they just don't have any food so they have been forced to ‘hunt’ for trash in urban areas.”

So far, 7 “problem” bears have been captured at Lake Tahoe during the past week and a half, while a 3-year old male bear was euthanized after wandering into a private beach at a gated community near Glenbrook on the east shore and began breaking into homes and cars.

"It actually opened a backpack and took food," Healy stated.

Another was struck and killed by a car.

In the meantime, animal activists such as Ann Bryant, head of “The Bear League have complained that the Nevada Department of Wildlife has been “putting down way too many bears." During an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal, she stated that the non-profit organization “does not agree killing is the answer. It takes away the respect for bears and that is what people need to live with them."

Bears are not the only animals moving closer to human neighborhoods because of the drought. In fact there has been an increase in the number of mice, squirrels and other small animals venturing close to homes in search of garbage to eat, as well as coyotes, snakes and other predatory creatures who eat them.

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