WAN Talks With CA Fish & Wildlife About The Search For A 13-Month-Old Missing Black Bear In Lake Tahoe

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care (LTWC) are requesting the public’s help in locating a young, orphaned black bear that recently escaped from LTWC’s facility in South Lake Tahoe where he was being rehabilitated since mid-December.

As per a post on the CDFW Facebook page, the 13-month-old male black bear weighs an estimated 50 pounds, is microchipped, and has a visible metal tag in his right ear numbered 1028.

WAN talked to Peter Tira, a CDFW Information Officer for the Northern Region about the missing bear that both residents and visitors to the South Shore Lake Tahoe area should report sighting but do not approach if they come across him. Thankfully, according to Tira, the bear is not in imminent danger.

“The bear is healthy and has plenty of fat reserved,” Tira explained to WAN, further noting that the young animal has survival skills, including not liking people which is important for the reclusive bear who is most likely keeping to himself and hiding under someone’s deck. “In a few days, he might get hungry and come out.”

The biggest threat to the bear, as long as humans do not interfere, appears to be the extreme weather conditions that Lake Tahoe is experiencing now. While most bears hibernate through the winter, Tira shared that foraging for natural foods at this time would be tough for the orphaned bear.

“He is a little young to be on his own and there is lots of snow now,” stated Tira, who said that Spring is the ideal scenario to release the bear back into the wild, which is always the intent in situations like this.

While it has not been determined yet if the bear will be returned to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care once captured, he will be placed at a licensed care facility where he will continue to be rehabbed until he is old enough to be released back into the wild. 

This is the second bear escape from the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care facility in the last two years and the CDFW is investigating the case. Reportedly, the bear, who was in an outdoor enclosed area that is used for exercise, escaped despite the fact that there was some barbed wire and electric fencing.

Bears are clever and nimble. Since there are only four licensed facilities in the area to rehabilitate young black bears, there is serious concern to figure out how the bear escaped and work to ensure that it does not happen again.

Sightings and tips should be reported to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) at (916) 358-2917 or Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care (LTWC) at (530) 577-2273. 

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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