Mammoth’s Bears: Kill Them or Train Them?

Does Mammoth have to go back to the days of shooting bears in search of food? That’s what happened a couple of weeks ago when a female bear broke into several cabins to get food. Fish and Game decided that the bear was a public danger. They trapped it and killed it. On the heels of public objections, Mammoth officials will bring up the issue of bear management at a Council meeting.

Town Manager Robb Clark said that he and Police Chief Randy Schienle will meet with Fish and Game officials and talk to them about “policies and procedures” and then make a presentation to the Town Council.

Some citizens have asked that the Town hire Steve Searles, who, for years, managed bears voluntarily. His program of behavior modification and close attention to the animals succeeded in virtually eliminating problems. Fish and Game officials continue to say that Searles program doesn’t work.

Searles unusual talent for handling animals rubs Fish and Game the wrong way. Their officials seem to prefer bureaucratic rules than hands on work with animals.

Town Manager Clark said that Fish and Game are considered the stewards of wildlife, but Mammoth residents have remained outspoken in favor of a cooperative management of wildlife that works.

The issue is expected to come up on a future Town Council agenda.


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