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Be Bear Aware

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Tahoe Life

Tahoe’s majestic scenery and stunning natural surroundings are also a habitat for our wildlife including black bears. At times, bear activity may be considerable. While black bears come in a range of colors, they should not be confused with grizzly bears or brown bears, which do not live anywhere near the Tahoe basin.

Follow these guidelines and support our harmonious existence with the area's wildlife during your Tahoe stay!

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What to do if you see a Black Bear:

  • If a bear is walking down the street, in a neighbor’s yard, up a tree or just resting, leave them be! They are not interested in you and don’t want anything to do with you, your children or your pets. They are out looking for food and will move on when ready.
  • If a bear is in your yard and you don’t mind, stay inside and keep pets inside until they leave.
  • If a bear is in your yard and you would like them to leave, make them uncomfortable! Let them know you don’t want them there! Yell, bang pots and pans, use air horns, or anything that will make a loud noise to scare them off.
  • If a bear has already obtained food, like trash or a large bag of dog food, they won’t leave until he is done eating. So it is important to make sure they cannot get into any trash or other food in the first place.
  • NOTE: It is AGAINST THE LAW to lure and/or harass any wildlife or let pets harass wildlife in the state of California and punishable with fines and jail time. Please do not try to take a close up photo of a bear. Do not chase it or try to entice that bear into your photo range.

The two most important things you can do to keep our bears safe is to keep food and trash stored properly and to drive safely.

Bears with access to human food quickly become habituated to it, preferring to visit populated areas for food scraps rather than eat a natural diet. Habituated bears may be euthanized if they are considered a threat to humans. Securing your trash and food from bears is easy and helps keep our bears wild.

It is also very important to be bear aware when driving. In 2020, 15 bears were hit and killed in the city of South Lake Tahoe. Many other adults and cubs were hit and injured. LTWC received two cubs who were injured badly enough they could not return to their mothers, but needed surgery and rehabilitation our facility. As of April 2021, two adult bears have already been hit, right in the middle of town on Lake Tahoe Blvd.

Learn more about how to vacation safely around bears here.