Hooked on garbage, Nevada bears quit hibernation
A black bear stopped skiers in their tracks and made headlines last week when it ran across a busy ski slope near Lake Tahoe. January is usually peak hibernation season, but Nevada wildlife officials say many bears have been skipping or delaying their months-long snoozes in favor of loitering near houses and businesses to rifle through trash bins. The reason for the change in behavior: year on year of dry winters and an abundance of garbage in easy reach.
“Over the years during the light winters, some bears will sleep five or six days out of the week and wake up on garbage days when they know there will be garbage available,” Chris Healy, spokesperson for the Nevada Department of Wildlife, told NBC News.
Last year was a dry year, and the NDOW responded to 97 bear calls. In 2009, a good year for snow, the rangers were only called out for about 40 bears.
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