Bear Cubs Captured in Tahoe Now Thriving at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue

Three black bear cubs, recently captured in a South Lake Tahoe neighborhood, are flourishing under the care of Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue in Petaluma.

The cubs, along with their mother, were captured on August 4 due to their involvement in at least 21 home break-ins in the Tahoe area since 2022. Their mother, known as 64F, was deemed a “conflict bear” due to her loss of fear of humans. She has been sent to a wildlife sanctuary in Colorado since California lacks sanctuary space for such animals.

Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, one of the four wildlife rehabilitation facilities permitted to care for bears in the state, is currently nursing the cubs. The facility’s focus is to undo the “conflict” behavior the cubs learned from their mother. California’s Department of Fish & Wildlife anticipates that the rehabilitation will instill a natural fear of humans, essential for their eventual release into the wild.

Initial examination of the cubs revealed that one had an injury to its foot and leg, likely from a car collision. However, the bear’s recovery is expected to be successful.

Video footage shows the cubs enjoying their outdoor enclosure, running, climbing, and playing. To teach the cubs to forage for food, the facility has created an obstacle course with hidden berries and salmon in trees, logs, and rocks.

Ann Bryant, executive director of the Tahoe-area nonprofit BEAR League, expressed her contentment with the capture. Known as “Buddha Bear,” 64F was incorrectly associated with “Hank the Tank,” a male black bear seen in the South Lake Tahoe area since 2022. Hank was wrongly linked to break-ins caused by 64F. The BEAR League works with local authorities to resolve bear conflicts in the Tahoe region.

Bryant noted that separating the cubs from their mother was a tough decision, but emphasized that it’s better than the cubs being permanently captive. The rehabilitation process will allow them to grow up wild and free, as they would have been separated from their mother by next spring anyway.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

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