Hungry Bears Plague Northern California - NBC Bay Area

Hungry Bears Plague Northern California



    Hungry Bears Plague Northern California
    Getty Images
    CHENGDU, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 9: (CHINA OUT) Black bears play at the Moon Bear Rescue Centre September 9, 2006 in Chengdu of Sichuan Province, China. Established in 2002, the center has saved about 185 bears from bear farms, where farmers milked their bile for profit and now it houses 168 bears. Financed by the AAF, Moon Bear Rescue Centre has cooperated with local governments to work towards the future of eliminating bear farming in China. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

    If it's not one thing, it's another. If it's not a mother bear trampling through the campground, then it's an outbreak of bubonic plague.

    A pair of persistent ursine visitors have been making life interesting for campers near Lake Tahoe. A mom and her cub would calmly poke around the tents searching for food. When rangers chased them away, they simply came back. During one return trip, a bear took a swipe at a camper and injured his arm.

    Finally, the Department of Fish and Game had had enough. They tranquilized both bears and transported them to a Rancho Cordova bear-prison. If testing reveals that one of them was the culprit in the arm-swipe, they'll both be killed.

    It's part of a disturbing trend this year. Usually, only one or two bears attacks humans. But so far this year, there have been 10 animals that got a little too aggressive with guests.

    But the bears may not be to blame. In the case of the injured camper, some observers note that food was improperly stored, luring the animals to camp. In other words, if you're going to do something dangerous, don't look so surprised when you get hurt. Campers need to take basic precautions, like stowing food high up out of reach. And campgrounds can employ tactics like electric fences to keep out unwelcome wildlife.

    Of course, there are worse dangers than bears out in the wild. A Sierra campground was closed earlier this summer when a squirrel tested positive for bubonic plague. After extensive testing, officials decided to re-open the park when it was determined that there was a low risk of contact with fleas, which spread the disease. Nevertheless, you might want to wear some extra bug spray.