The three bears recently put down in the Mammoth area have thrown fuel on the already burning fire over what to do about the problem bear known as Blondie, who remains missing in action at last word.
Joe Parrino and Bear With Us have been working to ship Blondie off to a private wildlife sanctuary in Colorado. Parrino has since been out gathering signatures on a petition to keep Blondie alive.
This summer a handful of bears are said to be responsible for the large majority of the home break-ins in the Mammoth area. Blondie is one of these suspects, as were the sow and three cubs that were killed sometime in the last two weeks after a property owner in the Twin Lakes area took out a depredation permit that allowed Fish and Game to hire a USDA contractor to trap the animals.
This was the plan with Blondie too, but the depredation permit expired before the bear was trapped and killed. With the breakdown in wildlife management in the Town of Mammoth Lakes over the past three summers, Parrino believes that Blondie is not to blame for her bad behavior. A woman reported to be feeding the bears in the Old Mammoth area doesnt help the situation either.
Out of this mess, Parrino hopes to extricate Blondie, a plan that has so far not received any backing from town officials or Fish and Game.
With no confirmed Blondie sightings in recent weeks, the Mammoth Town Council decided to drop the issue at a recent emergency meeting. Councilman John Eastman explained that the depredation permit for Blondie had expired and there was no desire to appeal to politicians at the state level for help.
The meeting was last week. This week the petitions in circulation specifically request, contacting and requesting authorization at the state level for immediate processing through Dept. of Fish and Game for the translocation of Blondie to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado.
In the meantime, where is Blondie? There have been no confirmed sightings of this regular burglar in weeks. Mammoth Wildlife Manager Steve Searles, says that no one in Old Mammoth has seen Blondie since the USDA trappers were hired by the town to capture and kill Blondie. That effort was reportedly unsuccessful, but Searles says, As of today there is no clear channel of communication between the Town and the Forest Service and Fish and Game. Searles adds that he believes people have gone out of their way to not have a clear channel of communication.
We are still waiting for updated information from Fish and Game on how many bears were killed as part of the trapping effort in the Twin Lakes area.
Parrino continues to press on, gathering petition signatures at events like the Labor Day Arts Show and outside of Vons and the Post Office. Whether these efforts do provide sanctuary for this bear, who may or may not be alive, is yet to be seen.
Update 5:00 pm September 10.
We’ve spoken to Kevin Brennan, Biologist with Fish and Game, he reports that more than one property owners were issued permits, but that those permits were specific to the sow and two cubs, not Blondie. Brennan says that “there were no others that I’m aware of.”