SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) — A 500-pound bear that pounces on properties with a craving for all things food has a community at odds with wildlife officials who want it dead.
The exclusive Tahoe Keys community in South Lake Tahoe has been dealing with bear break-ins for months. The problem is so bad, state officials say killing the animal is the only option.
The big-boned bear has made his habitat around the homes lining the landscape.
"He's always lived his life in that area," said Ann Bryan with Bear League. "He's a well known local."
He's well-known and now wanted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. A spokesperson said the bear has damaged 38 homes and is responsible for more than 150 calls.
Killing it is a move the Bear league calls cruel and unnecessary.
"We don't want anybody to get hurt. Nobody wants that," Bryan said. "We don't want the bear to die either."
As word spread of the agency's plans and traps were put in place, backlash not associated with the Bear League soon followed.
"It's how the community feels," Bryan said. "They do not want the bear to pay the price for human ignorance. So when a bear is set to die in their community, people take a stand."
Fish and Wildlife says relocating the bear isn't an option because the animal doesn't; know how to hunt. The Bear League agrees.
"We don't believe in relocation. It doesn't work," Bryan said. "And they usually die a horrible death tryin to survive after relocation."
While the colossal carnivore has eluded capture so far, the Bear League says the best solution is two-fold: having homeowners bear-proof their properties and moving the big guy to a wild animal sanctuary out of state.
The Bear League said it's still waiting to hear back from Fish and Wildlife about a possible sanctuary move. Meanwhile, a meeting on the issue is set for Wednesday night in Tahoe Keys.
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