The Bear Whisperer?

Well, if Rebecca O’Connor can be the parrot whisperer, the LA Times thinks that Steve Searles of Mammoth Lakes, California is the bear whisperer. Searles is the local police department’s volunteer wildlife specialist. Marauding black bears are a problem at Mammoth, and rather than tranquilizing and removing offenders, and potentially killing them if they repeat, Searles tries to use “tough love” to chase bears away from trouble. He uses firecrackers and flares, rubber bullets, air horns — all nonlethal techniques he refers to as “bear spankings.”

You wonder how long this guy will last, but it sounds like he has sense enough to keep his distance. According to a prominent resident:

“Steve gets along fine with the bears,” said George Shirk, editor of the local Mammoth Monthly. “It’s people he sometimes has a problem with.”

I did like this quote of Searles scolding two treed cubs who’ve just ransacked a condominum kitchen:

“Bad bears!” he growled up at the 100-pound cubs, who peered back innocently. “What are you guys doing? Who do you think you are?”

Leave a Comment