Bears are returning to Three Rivers


They’ve been seen by Pumpkin Hollow Bridge. They are in the Sierra King neighborhood off Mineral King Road. On upper North Fork. And even mid-day in the middle of Highway 198.

Bears are being spotted in the community, so it’s time for Three Rivers residents to secure their trash cans and bearproof anything else that might be construed as food for a curious bruin. These black bears, that can also be brown and blonde, have emerged from their winter slumber and are now on an almost perpetual search for food.

It is not uncommon for a black bear to consume up to 20,000 calories per day. Unfortunately, this search for a meal sometimes leads a bear into a populated area such as Three Rivers, and then comes the conflicts with humans.

A bear’s sense of smell is seven times better than a hound dog’s, said Marc Kenyon, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s human-wildlife conflict expert. 

“Bears can smell meat drippings on your barbecue, dog food on your porch, and candy in your sleeping bag,” he said. “So if you live in or visit bear habitat, for your safety and the wellbeing of the bear, always keep your food and trash properly secured.

It’s best to never let a bear gain access to a trash can or other food source. Once a bear finds an easy source of sustenance, he will return again and again to the same location, and if that food source is a neighborhood, the consequences are not going to be pleasant. Not only can bears get sick from ingesting trash, they can also become dangerous as they begin to associate humans with food.

Hopefully, by now, every Three Rivers resident has a lock on their brown trash can or some other method to secure the can and deter bears. The blue recycling cans should not contain any food waste; all recyclables should be washed and thoroughly clean before being deposited into this can.

The green waste cans should be used for yard waste only. Do not throw food waste into this can and leave it unsecured.

Here are tips for those who live in bear country such as Three Rivers:

—Purchase and properly use a bearproof garbage container.

—Wait to put trash out until the morning of collection day.

—Don’t leave trash, groceries, or animal feed in your vehicle.

—Keep garbage cans clean and deodorize them with bleach or ammonia.

—Keep barbecue grills clean and stored in a garage or shed when not in use.

—Avoid using birdfeeders.

—Don’t leave scented products outside, including non-food items like sunscreen and candles.

—Keep livestock in secure enclosures.

—Harvest fruit off trees as soon as it is ripe (and pick up any that is on the ground).

—Keep first-floor windows and doors closed and locked when they aren’t able to be monitored.

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