In spite of recent talk of cooperation on Bear issues, a lack of communication between the Fish and Game, the Forest Service, and the Town of Mammoth became clear when word got out that three bears in the Twin Lakes area were killed in recent weeks.
On Thursday of this week, we spoke to Fish and Game Biologist Kevin Brennan, who said that the bears were taken on Forest Service land, outside the jurisdiction of the Town government. He speculated that was the reason Fish and Game officials did not mention the fact that the bears were put down to town officials.
Town Councilman Skip Harvey has explained that he sat at a Town Wildlife Sub-Committee meeting on Wednesday, Sept.2 with officials from Fish and Game who said nothing about killing of the sow and two cubs. It was not until after the Mammoth Town Council had scheduled an emergency meeting to discuss bear issues, that the information went public.
The miscommunication between the Town government and at least one agency, the Forest Service, appears to be systemic when it comes to bears. Deputy Mammoth District Ranger Mike Schlaffman has said that there was no intent to keep the issue quiet and chalked up the miscommunication to a mistake when he said it, slipped through the cracks.
Schlaffman didnt attend the Wildlife Sub-committee meeting because it turns out, that neither he, nor any Forest Service employee was invited to the meeting. Forest Service staff is not on the Wildlife Sub-Committee, but Schlaffman says that the Forest Service is, very willing to participate. The town and the Forest Service have a good relationship, meeting at least once a month with Town Staff and the Water District to talk about discuss every other issue, he says. Schlaffman calls the communication with the Town on the bear issue, an anomaly, that could easily be fixed.