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The bears are back in town

July 20, 2012

The big bears are out of the mountains and back in the dumpsters. The second-year bears are scrambling around in their wake.

Some of the visitors are a little freaked out and most of the residents are delighted.
 
Such is the state of Mammoth’s bear population, said Steve Searles, who addressed the Town Council Wednesday in his monthly wildlife report.
 
“It’s really busy out there,” he said. 
 
“Due to budget cuts, layoffs and the difficult times we’re in, the bears have volunteered to donate their time for public education. If you leave food in your vehicles and you don’t lock your garage doors and clear your trash, they will help you with that education.
 
“Several people were educated last night.”
 
Searles said on Wednesday alone he received 25 bear-related calls, none of them reporting bad behavior.
 
“We haven’t had any traffic collisions or anything like that,” he said. “Dispatch is really nice about it, but they’re overwhelmed with calls like, ‘There’s a baby bear in my tree and it might fall!’ 
 
“These are all second-year bears. There are seven of them in town. They’re wandering all over town, mid-day. They’re starving. They’re very hungry. Please don’t feed them.
 
“The big bears, in the last 10 days, as was predicted, have moved down from higher elevation as the snow has burned off, so there will be an influx of larger, adult male bears and the little ones have to scatter and get out of the way.
 
“There are a lot of bears crossing the roads, and if everyone does their part, these are not serious calls. They’re more welfare checks, that type of thing. I have a bear that was so happy, he was mooing, like, ‘MYEOOO, MYEOOO,’ and I had four calls that he had been injured and was in pain. 
 
“People can get a little bit confused.”
 
Among the most entertaining calls, Searles said, was from a woman who was camping with her family in the Lakes Basin.
 
The familiar bear, commonly called “Blacksocks” round town, moved in just a little bit too close for her liking.
 
“She barraged him,” Searles said. “She threw items at it to make sure the bear would move away from her and do the right thing. But what she was throwing at the bear was all fresh fruit!”
 
With that, members of the audience howled with laughter, but Searles finished his presentation on a serious note.
 
“We have to do the best we can getting through this incredible drought we’re in.”

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