Bear Sightings Down In Nevada

Sep 21, 2016

Credit William Andrus / CC BY 2.0

Nevada wildlife officials say fewer bears are roaming around the state's urban areas this year, likely because of weather conditions from El Nino. Our reporter Sarah Parks has more.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife says five bears were struck by cars this year, compared to 19 last year. The agency has also handled only 48 bears, down from 140 two years ago.

Chris Healy from the Nevada Department of Wildlife says that the bears are drawn into urban areas by the smell of garbage.

“They are extremely good at searching and finding food and they will go as far and wide as they have to in order to find that food,” Healy says.

The decreased bear activity is likely because of snowy weather this year in the Sierra Nevada, which was slightly above average. More snow means more natural sources of food and water are available in the mountains.

“The animals are trying to do one thing," Healy says, "they’re trying to find enough food, water, shelter and space in order to survive.”

But, officials warn bear activity will likely increase this fall, as the animals seek ripening fruit in backyards.