Visitors to the Desolation Wilderness returned to their parked cars to see that they had been burglarized. Immediately, they knew it wasn’t your garden variety car jacker.
A bear had used force to break into two cars in a popular Desolation Wilderness parking lot this week, marking another case of bears brazenly interacting with human property in search of their coveted human food.
Lake Tahoe Forest Service tweeted out photos of the incident:
Visitors are reminded that #bears continue to actively seek out human food & trash at #trailheads. Bear canisters are encouraged. DO NOT leave any scented items in your car or it may look like this when you return. Plan ahead & leave scented items at home. @DesoWV @TahoeSouth pic.twitter.com/J0qblIFRH7
— Lake Tahoe USFS (@LakeTahoeUSFS) September 20, 2018
Officials reminded the public that even though scented items are locked in your car, it’s still best practice to keep them in a bear canister.
Many bears frequent the Tahoe wilderness areas in hopes of finding some tasty human food but with locals and visitors doing a better job at locking up trash in bear-proof dumpsters, the bears have moved to bigger trouble with a bigger payday: homes.
In the Homewood area of Tahoe last summer, 14 homes were ransacked before the bears went to sleep for winter hibernation. And these bears destroy much of the homes before moving on to another location. There were many more reports of bears in neighborhoods or attempted break-ins.
To add another wrinkle in this already troubling situation is the well-funded and organized bear advocates of Tahoe are stopping all actions from being made against the burglar bears. Homeowners fear that if they allow wildlife officials to kill or capture a bear on their property, they will be harassed by bear advocates.
The bears are brash in their actions. They aren’t that scared of dogs or rubber bullets and California officials are very reluctant to kill a bear unless it attacks a person.
It seems that attempting to change bear culture to teach them to stay away from the homes is the best way for a generational solution to the problem. For now, residents are “bear proofing” their homes and creating motion-censored alarm systems to alert them if their is a bear break in.