CARSON CITY, Nev. Wildlife officials destroyed a black bear Monday after they decided the animal was a threat to the public at Lake Tahoe, but a bear advocate called the killing "despicable."
The 3-year-old male was captured Sunday for a second time on the lake's south shore in the Glenbrook area, Nevada Department of Wildlife officials said.
It was first captured and tagged in late June after the department received reports of a bear attempting to break into homes.
"This was the second time since late June that we have handled this bear and, based on its lack of fear of humans and the fact that it continues to be too comfortable around humans, we made the decision to euthanize it," Department of Wildlife biologist Carl Lackey said in a statement.
Ann Bryant of the Tahoe-based BEAR League said the bruin did nothing wrong and was enticed by a trap set near an unsecured trash bin.
"They follow their noses, which is what any bear would do," Bryant said. "Now he's dead. This is exactly what we knew would happen.
"This is such a tragedy," she said.
The Department of Wildlife has euthanized three bears this year, and experts fear more bear encounters are likely in coming days.
Bears begin to dramatically increase their food consumption at this time of year to prepare for hibernation, but food supplies are scarce after two years of drought.
The Wildlife Department said the bear they destroyed was first captured by game wardens in the Glenbrook area June 24.
Biologists couldn't confirm the bear they trapped was the same one doing the damage, so it was tagged and released the next day above Lake Tahoe.
Three days later it was photographed by a homeowner in the Galena area where the bear was suspected of other property damage, the Wildlife Department said.
"One person in that Galena neighborhood tried to shoo the bear away from his house but the bear actually tried to follow him during this encounter," Lackey said. "This kind of behavior shows a level of habituation to humans that can be very dangerous."
Lackey said traps were set in the Glenbrook area in mid-July after reports of bears damaging property increased.
The bear destroyed Monday fit the description of a bear in the area displaying "no fear of humans," Lackey said.
He said the euthanized bear was believed to have broken into an outbuilding and was implicated in the killing of a goat.
Bryant said setting traps after bears are accustomed to finding garbage or other easy meal pickings is wrong.
"What is happening is the carelessness of some of these people who hang bird feeders out, leave trash out, then whine when the bears come," she said.
"If that bear lived anywhere else, he'd just be a normal bear."
"All of it's despicable," she said.