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Lake Tahoe's BEAR League to be featured on Animal Planet mini-series


By Adam Jensen
Tahoe Daily Tribune
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
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BEAR League on the scene again

HOMEWOOD, Calif. — Lake Tahoe's big bears are headed to the small screen.

“Blonde vs. Bear” is a three part mini-series documenting BEAR League volunteers as they respond to bear calls around the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The first episode premieres on Animal Planet at 10 p.m. Thursday. The second and third installments are scheduled for 10 p.m. on March 24 and 31.

The BEAR League is a Homewood-based nonprofit group focused on “keeping bears safe and wild in their natural habitat,” according to the league's mission statement. The group operates an around-the-clock hotline to help people with bear problems.

The league has appeared on national news programs before, but has never had an entire episode dedicated to its activities, said Executive Director Ann Bryant during a Monday phone interview.

The show is “really going to be an in-depth study of what the BEAR League does,” Bryant said.

Footage for the mini-series was shot by a three-person film crew over four months during the summer of 2010, a season Bryant described as “typical” for bear activity.

Viewers will have the opportunity to become familiar with individual bears on the show and see how bear encounters can be prevented, Bryant said.

“It's just us coaching people and educating bears,” Bryant said.

The first of the three episodes includes bear encounters with a tree surgeon and tourist, as well as a young bear accused of breaking into a home, according to a description on Animal Planet's website.

Lake Tahoe Basin bears, especially large males, have begun to wake up from hibernation, and it's especially important to keep sources of food out of their grasp at this time of year, Bryant said.

If bears wake up and find food, they won't continue hibernating, Bryant said. Keeping bears hibernating until the snowpack recedes and natural food sources are available is important to keeping bears out of garbage cans, Bryant added.

Bird feeders are also particularly attractive to bears this time of year, Bryant said.

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