Once again, Mammoth citizens turned out in huge numbers to support thoughtful management of the bears in and around town. They also overwhelmingly backed up Steve Searles as the man who can handle bear issues.
The initial report on bear talk reflects huge support for Searles, who developed Mammoth's and Yosemite's bear management program.
Searles parted ways with the Mammoth Police Department earlier this year, where he had volunteered to handle bear issues. Now, the public has asked for him back. Councilmembers said that they would have to form a committee and put a request for proposals out to bid for a bear consultant. To many, it seemed like an indirect, bureaucratic response.
Citizens pointed to the need for more education – to keep people from feeding bears and to keep trash dumpsters locked.
Police Chief Randy Schienle told the Council that his officers are trained in hazing problem bears, a practice used by Searles.
Bruce Kinney of the Department of Fish and Game talked about not feeding bears. Although Fish and Game have, in the past, sharply criticized Steve