A healthy and just a little bit clumsy 11-week-old bear cub stomped around the office of Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Inc. on Tuesday, exactly one week after she was mysteriously dropped off at a Bear League facility in Homewood.
Tahoe, a 6-pound black bear, was found slightly dehydrated in a kennel with no warning and no note. She was whimpering when Bear League Director Ann Bryant found her, and was immediately taken to the Wildlife Care’s rehabilitation center in South Lake Tahoe.
“I wondered what happened,” Bryant said of first discovering the cub. “Why is this baby alone, and what happened to the momma?”
One week later, the baby bear seemed to be back at full strength as she climbed on chairs, stumbled over boxes and chewed on stuffed animals. She eats and plays four times a day until she tires herself out and falls back asleep.
Caretakers use a bottle to feed the cub a specially-made formula. But aside from feeding times, the animal has little to no contact with humans in order to keep her from becoming too attached, said LTWC Executive Director Cheryl Millham.
“She’s not like a cat or dog,” Millham said. “You can’t pet her, play with her or sleep next to her, or she’ll (adapt) to the point where she can’t be released.”
The cub is currently being raised indoors, so Millham and her husband can keep a close eye on her. However, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Inc. plans to move Tahoe into one of the outdoor dens in a couple weeks.
Ultimately, the goal of the Bear League and LTWC is to release the animal back into the wild when she’s old enough.
“Right now she’s just a baby and wants attention,” Millham said.
Three other bears that were under the care of LTWC, each about a year old, were scheduled to be released back into the wild Wednesday morning. Among them was an injured black bear found at Heavenly Mountain Resort on March 3. That bear, a male, was released in the Monitor Pass area of Alpine County, she said.
Bryant is hoping someone comes forward with information about the new mystery cub so the animal can eventually be released back into the area it was initially found. She’s asking anyone who has information on the animal to call the Bear League, whether it’s anonymous or not.
“We’re glad she was rescued,” she said. “We would just like to know the story behind it.”
The Bear League can be reached at 530-525-7297.