Increase In Bear Complaints Prompts New Hotline In Nevada

RENO (AP) - Got a bear problem? Northern Nevadans now can turn
for help to a new BEAR hotline.

Nevada Department of Wildlife officials say they decided to establish the hotline after they dealt with a record number of bear complaints last year in the Reno-Lake Tahoe area.

The hotline is wired directly into the agency's dispatch center in Reno. Calls can be made to (775) 688-BEAR between 6 a.m. and 11

Department officials say the hotline is designed to make them more responsive to bear problems and they'll respond to calls based on prioritized threat levels.

Residents who have simply sighted bears or had garbage cans tipped over by bears are being asked to refer to the agency's Web site ( for advice on reducing bear problems.

Last year, department personnel handled 1,531 bear complaints
compared with 350 in 2006.

Many of the complaints dealt with bears that visited neighborhoods in search of food after a drought drastically reduced their natural food sources.

About 300 adult bears live in Nevada, primarily around Lake Tahoe.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-04-12-08 1717EDT