Nevada bears forage in neighborhoods as food sources run dry


RENO, Nev. (AP) — Bear sightings in Nevada residential neighborhoods have increased as a result of extreme heat drying up the animals’ food sources, officials said.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife said when food sources are reduced in the high country, bears move to developed areas in lower elevations where humans unintentionally leave out food, The Reno Gazette-Journal reported Tuesday.

“We’ve had a lot of bear activity in areas we wouldn’t (normally) have had them,” state wildlife department Public Information Officer Ashley Sanchez said.

Recent videos posted on social media captured bears wandering through Reno neighborhoods, while a video from Tahoe showed a bear taking a bag of chips from a grocery store.

“They have to build up fat before the winter,” Sanchez said. “We’ve also had this dry year. Both those factors are working together, and we are seeing a lot more bears coming into neighborhoods.”

The wildlife department normally does not receive reports of bears wandering in human areas until October or November, but this year the calls began around June, Sanchez said.

Biologists have responded to about three bear calls per day, while a year without drought averages closer to a couple of calls per week, she said.