A young black bear is getting a second shot at life in the wild this spring, being released back into the wild after eight months of treatment at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care.
The “Lebec bear” was brought in from south of Bakersfield last July. The bear is the South Lake Tahoe wildlife rehabilitation center’s first bear release this year and was hauled Tuesday in a bear crate from the center to near where it was captured.
“He was only 13 pounds and all by himself with no mom, so he was pretty small when he came to us,” said Cheryl Millham, of Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care.
The bear came in with foxtails in his ears, two ticks on his body and a wound on one of his left legs. He spent the last eight months growing and getting rehabilitated and now tips the scales at a bit more than 65 pounds.
“He was getting the right food and the right care for the right amount of time, playing with the other cubs and staying away from humans,” Millham said.
About 14 months old, the Lebec bear was tranquilized and given one last health inspection before he was picked up by the California Department of Fish and Game and hauled away Tuesday.
“Our biologist found some really prime habitat, with some green up right now, which is very rare in this drought time, and near some water sources. So we’ll take this bear down there, open the crate up and let this bear go off on his own,” said Marc Kenyon, senior environmental specialist with California Department of Fish and Game.
“When he gets down there he’ll have essentially a second chance on life.”
Three other young black bears remain at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care and also are expected to be released back into the wild this spring. They include a bear from Meeks Bay, a bear from Truckee and a bear brought in from Heavenly Mountain Resort.