A mama bear and her two cubs decided to cool off in the human crowded waters of Lake Tahoe earlier this week. The video provided by Pallas Buckley shows the bear family frolicking off the shoreline of Pope Beach. The bears don’t seem to have a care in the world as humans paddle watercraft just feet away.
The bear family went for a swim just a week after another bear family, consisting of a mama bear and two cubs, made news for letting itself into the home of a California man for a late-night snack. According to the Washington Post, Rodney Ginn of Mammoth Lakes, California, came home to find the sliding door of his home open. Ginn heard some commotion coming from the kitchen, and when he went to investigate, he was surprised to find the three bears.
Ginn shared a video of the bears making themselves at home on his Facebook. Warning: Explicit language may be offensive to some viewers and possibly to the bear cubs.
Although Ginn posted a terrifying picture of the mama bear charging at him just before he took shelter in a bedroom, Ginn went on to say that the bear family left after about 30 minutes through the same sliding door they had entered. The only injuries that were caused by the bears were to his kitchen.
With the brazen bear families swimming in Lake Tahoe and entering the home in Mammoth Lake, one has to wonder if bear encounters are on the rise or if the fierce animals are no longer seeing humans as a threat.
According to the North American Bear Center, most bear attacks that occur are a defensive response when the bear feels threatened. Black bears have killed 61 people since 1900. Most people encounter bears when the animals are seeking food or water, and whether or not the encounter becomes violent can rely on several factors.
According to Wise About Bears, an organization that helps provide information on bear habits, grizzlies tend to be more aggressive than black bears, especially if they feel their cubs are threatened or if they are taken by surprise. Black bears, like the ones swimming in Lake Tahoe and wandering around inside Ginn’s home, tend to be more docile. However, like any wild animal, a bear can react violently if it feels threatened.
As humans continue to encroach on forest habitats, the likelihood of human and bear interaction is likely to increase. Another contributing factor seems to be the impact of drought conditions on the bear habitats. According to Time, California’s ever-increasing human population and lack of rainfall have taken a toll on the state’s water resources. As water is pulled from natural resources, wildlife and foliage are affected, causing a ripple effect on not only the availability of food and water for bears but deer, mountain lions, and other animals, forcing them to seek other sources for sustainability. This results in increased bear sightings and encounters.
And California isn’t the only state with increased bear activity in human populated areas. Arizona, Texas, Florida, Connecticut, and Wyoming also note that bears interactions are on the rise.
While Rodney Ginn was undoubtedly terrified to find a family of bears in his home last week and the people swimming in Lake Tahoe were both mesmerized and anxious as the mama bear and her two cubs joined them, one has to wonder if there is hope that humans and bears can co-exist peacefully.
According to Dave Smith in the book Backcountry Bear Basics, it’s a matter of mind over matter from the human perspective.
“People can live with real bears. It’s the bears roaming the wilds of the human imagination that are impossible to get along with.”
[Image via Shutterstock]