SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KGO) -- Officials are warning drivers in the Lake Tahoe area this Labor Day weekend that bears are still getting killed by cars at high rates.
"It's literally been carnage and it's only escalating," said Ann Bryant, Executive Director, of the BEAR League, a non-profit working to protect the region's beloved bears. "We're just holding our breath thinking how does it get any worse and then it does."
A few weeks ago ABC7 News reported roughly 20 bears being struck and killed by vehicles within just a five-week period.
"Since I talked to you we've had several more bears that have been hit, killed, injured," said Bryant.
She noted that 15 more bears had been hit, eight killed, and the others injured.
"We have cubs that are injured and their mothers trying to look after them," said Bryant. "We have a mother that is injured and she can't take care of her cubs anymore and we can't even find her."
Bryant says the problem is capturing the attention of the City of South Lake Tahoe, which put up warning signs ahead of the long weekend.
"It was discussed having signs as you're entering Tahoe, kind of the gateway to the city, notifying visitors of wildlife and to take it slow," said Sheree Juarez with the City of South Lake Tahoe.
"They decided they wanted signage and asked us would our preference would be the lit-up signs or the little triangle signs that say, 'Bear Crossing,' and we said, 'Well we think the lit up signs call more attention to it'," said Bryant. "We had a lot of comments from people on that and we told them South Lake Tahoe City did this and we're so proud of them."
The City of South Lake Tahoe is also planning to put up permanent signs and is working to identify the best locations.
"What's interesting about South Lake Tahoe is you have the highway that goes through town so we have to work with CalTrans as well and also the county for parts of Pioneer Trail that comes in from Meyers," explained Juarez.
In the meantime, Bryant is bracing for what's to come, as the bears begin foraging for food ahead of hibernation.
"It escalates when we get into September, and October, and the first part of November," she said. "So, this is the time when it gets worse."
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