The Lakes Basin bear, shown here, that had been breaking into cabins was effectively put down yesterday afternoon. (Photo: Tom Keller)
The Lakes Basin bear that had been repeatedly breaking into cabins over the last few weeks was shot and killed yesterday afternoon at approximately 12:50 p.m. as it was being chased from breaking into yet another home, according to Mammoth Lakes Police Sergeant Karen Smart.
Sergeant Smart was the officer on hand that effectively put the bear down.
“I acted as the agent for the homeowner who had obtained the depredation permit,” Smart told The Sheet. This was the first time MLPD had acted as an agent of this type, but according to Smart they have the right to do it.
Prior to being put down the bear was identified as the mostly blonde three-year-old female with the distinguishing dark head and feet. According to Smart, Wildlife Specialist Steve Searles was on scene and positively identified the bear as the one that had been doing the damage before it was put down. The bear was also identified by the homeowner who had ordered the depredation permit and several other cabin owners. The Department of Fish and Game was also confident it was the correct bear, according to Smart.
A trapping effort had been started by DFG but had been unsuccessful to date. The bear would have met the same fate regardless of whether or not it had been trapped first since relocation of bears is not an option.
Cabin owners in the Lakes Basin had attended last week’s Wildlife Subcommitte meeting to voice their concerns and ask for help in dealing with the bear. They were told by Town of Mammoth Lakes officials and the Mammoth Lakes Police Department that they needed to contact the Department of Fish and Game and obtain a depredation permit, which at least one homeowner had done.
The bear had reportedly been aggressive enough to tear off shutters and break through windows in order to get into cabins and find the food waiting inside.