Captured bear cubs ready for transportation. Courtesy photo
The mother bear is captured Monday. Courtesy photo
Editor’s Note: The Los Alamos Reporter posted the following story Monday about the mother bear and three cubs that were wandering in the Barranca Mesa area. Efforts to capture the cubs were hindered by the number of people who ignored requests to stay away from the area and remain in their homes.
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish conservation officers captured a female bear with three cubs found roaming in Los Alamos and successfully relocated them to western New Mexico.
A concerned resident called the Department last week about the bears raiding neighborhood dumpsters. Seven conservation officers worked around the clock over several days to ensure the capture and safe relocation of the sow and her cubs.
The bears found food in garbage cans and were in danger of becoming habituated to being fed in neighborhoods. All of the bears are healthy and have not been captured in the past.
“Our officers did a great job safely catching these bears,” said Director Mike Sloane. “Even in the city, it’s important for people to know they can help keep wildlife wild by reducing the amount of attractants in their own yards and neighborhoods.”
As the summer months trek on, the Department wants residents to be aware of the increased chance of encountering bears.
For public safety and for the bears’ safety, people should continue to be diligent about keeping trash properly contained until the day of pickup, especially if you reside in or close to wooded areas.
The Department offers the following suggestions if you visit or live in bear country:
- Never leave fruit from trees and bushes to rot on the ground as it is a powerful attractant to bears and other wildlife.
- Remove bird feeders. Bears see them as high calorie treats and often will look for other food sources nearby.
- Never put meat or sweet-smelling food scraps such as melon in your compost pile.
- Don’t leave pet food or food dishes outdoors at night.
- Clean and store outdoor grills after use. Bears can smell sweet barbecue sauce and grease for miles.
- Keep your camp clean and store food and garbage properly at all times. Use bear-proof containers when available. If not, suspend food, toiletries, coolers and garbage from a tree at least 10 feet off the ground and six feet out from the tree trunk.
- Keep your tent and sleeping bag free of all food smells. Store the clothes you wore while cooking or eating with your food.
- Sleep a good distance from your cooking area or food storage site, 100 yards is recommended.
- Never intentionally feed bears to attract them for viewing.
If you encounter a bear:
- Make yourself appear large by holding out your jacket. If you have small children, pick them up so they don’t run.
- Give the bear plenty of room to escape, so it doesn’t feel threatened or trapped.
- If a black bear attacks you, fight back using anything at your disposal, such as rocks, sticks, binoculars or even your bare hands. Aim for the bear’s nose and eyes.
- If the bear has not seen you, stay calm and slowly move away, making noise so the bear knows you are there. Never get between a mother bear and her cubs.
If you are experiencing a persistent problem with bears, please contact your local law enforcement for immediate assistance. Visit the Department’s website to find contact information. For more information about living with bears in New Mexico please consult Keeping Bears Alive and Yourself Safe.