Town Asks Residents to Take on Bear Management

With the future of Wildlife Management in Mammoth up in the air, we spoke with Mammoth Police Sergeant Karen Smart about the details of towns plan to turn the effort over to the citizens.

Sgt. Smart is assigned to head up the April 9th public meeting planned to see if Mammoth residents are willing to create a non-profit bear management group similar to the Tahoe Bear League. Some Bear League staff are trained in the pyrotechnics used to haze the bears and run them out of homes and dumpsters, but Smart explained that in Tahoe, the volunteers spend about 97% of their time on public education and getting people to keep their trash locked up. The other 3% of the time spent is on nuisance bears.

The other option besides this non-profit bear group, Smart explained, would be to have the Town Staff and the Police Department continue to manage the wildlife. She says that its difficult for the Police Department to do the education work required for bear management. Smart added that taxpayers fund the Police to spend 100% of the time on law and traffic violations.

We need to get back to our jobs and turn the vital components over to someone else, Smart says. The Police would remain involved, but to a lesser extent. Smart explained that when a bear is hit by a car and has to be put down, Law Enforcement would still apply the lethal round.

As for Steve Searles, who was instrumental in the creation of the bear management program in Mammoth that worked until he was fired by the Police Department last year, Sgt. Smart says that Searles is welcome to participate.

This Wildlife Management Community Workshop is scheduled for April 9th at Fire Station 1 from 4-5:30. For more information or to sign up call Sgt. Smart at 934-2011

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