INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A 350-pound nuisance bear that was wandering outside a crowded Lake Tahoe shopping center Sunday afternoon was captured and subsequently killed, wildlife officials have confirmed.
The bruin was walking through the Raley’s Center parking lot off Highway 28, said Carl Lackey, wildlife biologist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife. It was approaching people, and people were approaching it.
“He walked right up to people who were sitting at a table outside of the Wild Alaskan (an Incline restaurant),” Lackey said.
Wildlife officials teamed with Washoe County Sheriff’s Office deputies to tranquilize the bear.
This was the third capture of this particular bear, which was first retained by wildlife officials in Incline Village in 2008 and then again in Carson City later that year, Lackey said.
Nevada law dictates a bruin must be killed after three incidents of bear/human interactions.
“This bear was just way too bold,” Lackey said.
Madonna Dunbar, resource conservationist for the Incline Village General Improvement District and director of WasteNot, said the incident illustrates the need for people to secure their trash by locking Dumpsters and other receptacles, considering there was an open bin in the Raley’s Center on Sunday.
“There were sheriffs there and a number of wildlife officials, and many people were pretty upset about what was going to happen to the bear,” said Dunbar, who witnessed the creature’s capture. “While this whole thing is going on, there is a Dumpster open at two o’clock in the afternoon.”
Dunbar said bear deaths will continue to occur unless people take responsibility.
“It’s pretty disappointing to see a bear loaded into a trap right next to an open Dumpster,” she said.
The incident was the second in as many days in Northern Nevada.
According to a Monday story by the Associated Press, wildlife officials captured a mother bear and her two cubs Monday near West Washington Street, about a mile west of the state capitol in Carson City.
NDOW spokesman Chris Healy said one cub was caught in a trap Sunday night; wildlife biologists tranquilized the other two bears Monday.
Healy said the mother had been captured and released in 2004. If she’s not a “problem bear,” he said the trio probably will be returned to the wild.