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New Program Makes It Easier To Live Responsibly With Bears

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) are supporting BearWise, the innovative North American program that helps people live more responsibly with bears. The BearWise website,, offers a wealth of scientifically sound information and practical advice. The state agencies will work closely with the USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and California State Parks to incorporate the BearWise messaging as part of their united effort through the Lake Tahoe Interagency Bear Team. This will ensure that residents and visitors across the Tahoe Basin will receive the same messaging regarding bears and how to manage human-bear conflict across state lines.

“In the Tahoe Basin, growing numbers of both bears and humans are leading to an increase in human-bear encounters and conflicts,” said NDOW Biologist Carl Lackey. “Bears pay no attention to boundaries and have no idea when they cross from public to private lands or from one state to another; that’s why a North American program with consistent messaging that can be used by anyone who lives, works, recreates and travels wherever bears also live makes so much sense.”


BearWise Information and Resources offers a wealth of information on black bear biology and behavior as well as sections on preventing human-bear conflicts at home and outdoors, including vacationing in bear country, bear safety information, guidelines for raising livestock, bees and crops, tips for dog owners and bird lovers, helpful FAQs, and information about how neighborhoods, communities and businesses can put BearWise to work.


BearWise Resource Center

In addition to “The Six Bear Wise Basics” for both “At Home” and “Outdoors,” the BearWise online store offers a variety of handouts and activity sheets people can download for free in addition to items like magnets, door hangers, stickers and signage that can be ordered individually or in bulk.


BearWise Article Bank

The BearWise Article Bank features dozens of articles that focus on bears, bear behavior, and what people can do to prevent conflicts with bears. Articles can be reprinted in newsletters or community newspapers and shared on social media.  Anyone can sign up to receive timely news and helpful information.


BearWise was developed by state agency bear biologists who wanted to make sure that no matter where people lived, played, or traveled, they got the same consistent message about coexisting with bears. Today the BearWise program is managed by a team of North American bear biologists and communications professionals and supported by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the BearWise member state wildlife agencies.

For more information and to sign up for email alerts, visit

For more information on Lake Tahoe bears, visit:

To report human-bear conflicts:

In California, contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife at 916-358-2917 or report online using the Wildlife Incident Reporting (WIR) system at Non-emergency wildlife interactions in California State Parks can be reported to its public dispatch at (916) 358-1300.

In Nevada, contact the Nevada Department of Wildlife at 775-688-BEAR (2327).

If the issue is an immediate threat, call the local sheriff’s department or 911.