The drought conditions in the Eastern Sierras have resulted in a reduction in natural food for bears. As a result, the bears are beginning to behave more like they typically do in September or October. As their natural food sources dwindle, they become more reliant on food from people.


Earlier in the summer, the problem was primarily in the Lakes Basin where one bear in particular became proficient at stealing anglers’ fish and raiding unsecured ice chests and back packs. In the past few weeks, the problem has moved into town. Wildlife Specialist Steve Searles and MLPD officers have been handling multiple bear calls each day. On August 7, they responded to a residence where a bear had spent several hours in a parked car doing considerable damage. Several other cars containing food have also been broken into.


As always, one of the biggest problems is unsecured dumpsters. It is vitally important for businesses, residents, and visitors to always properly secure dumpsters. All food, ice chests, and sweet smelling products like shampoo should never be left outdoors or in a car overnight. Bears are highly intelligent animals and when they see an ice chest they know it may contain food. So if a bear sees an ice chest in the back of a car or truck, they will figure out a way to get into the ice chest, and it’s usually an expensive repair.


The best way of preventing bears from becoming dependent on humans for food is to follow these common sense rules:

  • Never leave food out for bears or other wild animals
  • Securely store food and fragrant items such as shampoo and deodorant in an airtight container. When camping, use a bear-proof box
  • Don’t leave food, even in a cooler, in a car, tent, or other unsecure location
  • Don’t leave pet food outdoors or use a bird feeder. Bears love bird seed!
  • Always deposit trash in a bear proof trash can or dumpster
  • Keep your car locked and your garage door closed
  • Close and lock ground floor windows when no one is home


Remember a fed bear is a dead bear. Bears that have been conditioned to rely on humans for food become unmanageable and unfortunately, sometimes have to be destroyed.


Please help to keep our bears healthy. Enjoy their presence, but do not encourage behavior which is harmful to them. DON’T FEED OUR BEARS!


For more information on co-existing with wildlife or to report a bear problem, contact the Town’s Wildlife Specialist Steve Searles at (760) 937-BEAR.