Brace yourselves. There is a serious problem taking shape in the Sierra Nevada. (But on occasion, it’s seriously cute, too.)

Drought bears.

Nevada Department of Wildlife Conservation Aide Cooper Munson holds two of three black bear cubs captured and safely released on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of NDOW)
Nevada Department of Wildlife Conservation Aide Cooper Munson holds two of three black bear cubs captured and safely released on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of NDOW)

On Wednesday, Nevada Department of Wildlife personnel captured three five-month-old bear cubs on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore.

The bears’ mother eluded capture but watched as the cubs — two males and a female — were tranquilized and examined. Before release, workers attached identifying ear tags, tattooed the bears’ inner lips, affixed microchips to their bodies and took hair samples for DNA.

The cubs were reunited with their mother soon after they woke up.

Driven from the woods by lack of food during the current drought, black bears are increasingly becoming a nuisance around human communities this year. Since July 1, the Nevada Department of Wildlife says, it has safely trapped and released nine black bears. NDOW has killed one nuisance bear this month.

“We are doing our best to keep these bears alive and wild,” said NDOW black bear biologist Carl Lackey. “The information we derive from this ongoing research helps do that.”

Officials ask that humans do their part to keep bears away by properly disposing of trash and removing any attractants on their property that might lead bears to get into trouble.

Author

Olivia Allen-Price

Olivia Allen-Price is an interactive and engagement producer at KQED News. She has previously worked at The Baltimore Sun and The Virginian-Pilot. Talk to her about running, curly hair and playing the ukulele. Reach her @oallenprice or by email at ohubertallen@kqed.org.

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