In their own ways, residents, officials and law enforcement brace for what may come on the bear scene in Mammoth Lakes.
Wildlife Officer Steve Searles planned to update the Town Council on bear activity. The story remained mostly the same – the bear known as Blondie continues to break into kitchens and other bears do the same and more. Police and Searles can not get permission to shoot bears. Only private citizens can do that. Mayor Neil McCarroll, as a citizen, did get such a permit.
McCarroll said Blondie has broken into his house as many as a dozen times. In fact, she started her burglary habits in McCarroll’s and others’ homes last year. McCarroll said he felt he should show some leadership and get the permit. He also advised against personal names for bears. “They are wild animals,” he said, “and I’m very worried about that.”
McCarroll did say he felt if Searles had been able to use his aversion techniques over the last two years, perhaps the bear behavior in Mammoth would be more controlled.
The Mayor said that the Town and citizens would document Searles methods and the results to try to convince Fish and Game to work with them. “This will take several years,” said McCarroll,”but we’re going in the right direction.”
Searles, internationally known for his simpatico abilities with bears, also makes a strong point that peoples’ safety comes first. He verified that a second-homeowner in Mammoth hired someone to put out dog food for bears. Searles and others consider this a dangerous mistake for people and bears – encouraging the bears to come to humans’ homes for their food. The man hired to do the feeding was issued a ticket. Ironically, the woman who hired him is reportedly an official of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.