RENO, Nev.--Encounters between humans and bears are up dramatically this year, the Nevada Department of Wildlife reporting eight bears captured in eight days time!
Overnight we had a good indicator of the problem. A mom and two cubs were found right in the middle of a West Reno neighborhood. the change in weather means we're due for a few more sightings in the coming weeks.
The recent drop in temperature has told bears the time to pack on the pounds is running out.
"The cold weather, the snow, it's a good indicator to the bears that i need to fill my belly and i need to do it every single day," said Carl Lackey, Bear Biologist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
Bears are trying to eat 25,000 calories a day which is equivalent to 50 Big Macs. They searched for food last night in a West Reno neighborhood and all they found was garbage.
"Once they get addicted to human garbage, like in many cases has happened up in the Lake Tahoe area, you see bears that choose to live in and amongst humans," said Chris Healy with the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
NDOW doesn't want bears to become domesticated, the department captured three bears overnight in Juniper Ridge.
On Monday, the bears were tagged and on Tuesday, they'll be released back into the wild through a process called aversion conditioning.
Wardens most recently had to use the conditioning on Sunday after this bear wandered into a Carson neighborhood the day before.
"We're not on the west side where there's a lot of bears, we're not on the east side where there are hills... or on the north where there should be a bear... so it was pretty shocking," said Regina Nichols who witnessed the bear on Saturday.
She says it was a once in a lifetime experience to see the bears in her neighborhood, wildlife officials say its a sign of things to come in the next few weeks.
Bears generally enter hibernation around mid December. Until then, NDOW officials suggest people in our ever-growing "bear-country" keep their garbage and pet-food bowls secure, so they do not attract bears.