Officials: Laytonville 'Bear Woman' still feeding wildlife

Laytonville's "Bear Woman" apparently is still feeding bears five years after being reprimanded and threatened with prosecution.

"It looks like she has continued," said Fish and Game Lt. Loren Freeman, who helped serve a search warrant Tuesday on the home of Lynne Gravier, 76.

Game wardens conducting the search found 1,000 pounds of corn, four bears and lots of bear scat on Lynne Gravier's 40-acre property east of Laytonville, he said. Two of the bears were on her front porch.

Wardens also obtained photographic evidence while watching Gravier's property over the past three months, collecting sufficient information to obtain the search warrant, Freeman said.

The investigation was launched after neighbors complained that the feeding had continued, as had the damage to their property, despite official warnings issued five and six years ago.

"It's been ongoing," said Wayne Barbee. The bears break lights, tear down fences, decimate gardens and kill livestock.

Gravier has been warned multiple times over the years to stop feeding wildlife. Five years ago, Fish and Game officials asked former Mendocino District Attorney Norm Vroman to prosecute Gravier, but he refused.

It is illegal to feed bears and other wildlife, officials say.

Bears become accustomed to being handfed and can become destructive in their quest for a free handout, Freeman said. That behavior can become a death sentence for the bears.

Gravier could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but in an interview five years ago, she said she stopped feeding the bears after learning that some of her cherished bears were killed for causing problems.

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