Wednesday, June 23, 2010



Published news story by Lurene Helzer for Bay City News, June 16, 2001, “BEARS IN CALIFORNIA INCREASINGLY DESPERATE, HUNGRY.” Story based on information that was put out that morning by California’s Department of Fish and Game. (Photos of bears from Wikipedia, Creative Commons, U.S. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. First photo of cub in Lake Tahoe, CA. Second bear shown in California eating fish. Photo of Palm Springs region by Lurene, 2005.)

It regards murderous attacks on bee homes by starving bears.

Some of the attacks were highly unusual; rangers expect bear food sprees in Tahoe and Santa Cruz, but now they were getting reports from Palm Springs, which is a high-temperature desert area more feared – when feared -- for its population of terrifying, venomous snakes.

This 2001 story still interests me, because average temps in Palm Springs in June are a dry 102 degrees Fahrenheit:

Northern California beekeepers are increasingly struggling with black bear raids on hives, and say that electric fences, netting, alarms and hive-moving have been practically useless measures while confronting either hungry, or even skinny and starving bears

The California Department of Fish and Game released a Black Bear Management Plan in 1998 that estimated California’s bear population at between 17,000 and 23,000, which is about double the population of bears in the early 1980s. Meanwhile, decreased levels of rainfall and controlled fires for wildfire prevention have reduced the amount of food in bear territory, officials say.

According to an article in June’s AG Alert, an industry newspaper for the state’s agriculturalists, beekeepers are observing that the bears attacking hives and other livestock are not fat animals, but starving, Young bears who are increasingly crossing city/rural lines in search of food.

Fish and Game officials report bear trespasses in several spots throughout the state in the past few years, including the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Tahoe basin, areas around Lake Shasta, and even Palm Springs, an area previously assumed to be too high in temperature for bears.
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