LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KRON) — A Lake Tahoe resident’s Ring floodlight camera recorded a mama bear nonchalantly opening an unlocked vehicle’s door to look for food with her two tiny cubs in tow.
The curious cubs watch and learn from their mother who opens the door with ease.
Wildlife experts with California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the BEAR League urge residents to lock car doors, never keep food inside a vehicle, and secure trash in bear-proof containers.
The Ring video recorded last month shows how wild bears can become habituated to people. The cubs learn from their mama that unlocked car doors can be easily opened with the handle, and sometimes there is food inside.
A black bear’s sense of smell is so sharp that it can smell a pack of gum inside a car, said Ann Bryant of the BEAR League.
“Stop blaming the bears. They are not a nuisance. They are not aggressive. They are all just bears following their noses to find food,” Bryant said.
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To keep the baby bears wild, they need to learn how to find food sources in nature, such as berries, insects, and fish. Bryant said there would be far fewer human-bear conflicts if people changed their own behavior by securing human food sources.
The CDFW said bear-human conflicts are increasing, and many of the conflicts could have been avoided by people “taking a few simple actions.”
“Bears are primarily scent-driven when seeking food. Improperly stored human food and trash are likely attracting bears,” the CDFW wrote.
Bear burglaries are not limited to cars, either. Over the summer, bears broke into nearly 30 homes in the Tahoe Keys neighborhood and ransacked kitchens.
One 500-pound bear named “Hank the Tank” was initially blamed for all of the home break-ins. Luckily for Hank, DNA evidence collected by CDFW revealed that several different bears were to blame.