The Nevada Department of Wildlife expects roughly 500 conflicts between people and bears this year. But the department has a new trap to deal with the growing problem.
Years of dry weather have led bears to feed increasingly on trash, and adults teach their cubs that garbage is food.
The Department’s Chris Healy says families of bears have posed a problem for managers because traps can only capture one bear at a time. Then the mamma bears become enraged, endangering the public and wildlife agents. In some cases enraged bears killed their own cubs if they were stuck in the same trap.
Healy says this year, the department has a new trap that is double the size with enough compartments to capture the family.
"Keep the family together and then keep any loss of bear life to a minimum and so we are excited about that," says Healy.
The trap is paid for through hunting fees.
Healy expects conflicts between bears and people to increase this month as hot temperatures dry out natural food sources, and the full moon makes it easier for bears to see trash at night.
“We can save more bears so we can keep them alive and wild, will actually allow us to capture, to capture as many as two or three bears in a situation," says Healy.