Experts say these flyers aren't just full of misinformation -- they could cause long-term damage to the Tahoe bear population.
LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KGO) -- Alarm is rising in Lake Tahoe this week over a flyer found posted around the area. It calls for attention to the local bear population, saying things like "the black bears of Lake Tahoe are some of the most marginalized and oppressed species of life."
It goes on to say, "they spend most of their life going from garbage can to garbage can finding it locked due to selfish, heartless human beings...leaving the bear with absolutely no choice but to starve to death or attempt a home invasion."
Finally, the flyer calls on people to "actually feed the bears."
"After my first read, I couldn't even decide, is this some kind of sick joke that someone's trying to play on the community?" said Toogee Sielsch.
Sielsch is a local Tahoe bear expert, who says the information in the flyer is false.
He tells ABC7 News on Wednesday he saw dozens of them posted around South Lake Tahoe and began taking them down.
"I only pulled about two-thirds of them down as I went through town and it took me two hours," Sielsch said.
After my first read, I couldn't even decide, is this some kind of sick joke that someone's trying to play on the community?Toogee Sielsch, Tahoe bear expert
Experts say these flyers aren't just full of misinformation. They say if people take them seriously, they could cause long term damage to the Tahoe bear population.
Peter Tira of California Fish and Wildlife says he's aware of the flyers and that his department is telling people not to follow them.
Tira says feeding bears human food ultimately causes harm to both the animals and people.
"They look for it, become addicted to it, become dependent on it, and their behavior changes. It gets more brazen. We see it escalate," Tira said.
Fish and Wildlife is one of several organizations that has called out the posters in recent days.
Experts say bears are perfectly capable of surviving on their own and better off without human handouts.
Ann Bryant, of the Bear League, says the flyers are antithetical to the values held by most Tahoe residents.
"It's disgusting and it's against everything environmentally friendly and pro-bear," Bryant said.
That's why even though no one knows where the flyers came from, she's determined to find out.
"We've got 250 volunteers and 3000 members and I'm going to put everybody on heightened alert to find out who's doing this."
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