First there were three black bear cubs. Then four, then six. With eight cubs in for treatment and eventual release as of last weekend, things were getting busy at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care in South Lake Tahoe.
A ninth bear cub, “Brockway,” was dropped off at the wildlife rehabilitation center on Monday by California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“He came from Brockway Summit. He was found next to his dead mom,” said Tom Millham, who runs Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care with his wife, Cheryl, and a team of volunteers. “Other than that, we don’t know a lot about him.”
The wildlife rehabilitation center treated 11 bears, its most ever, a couple years ago, but not all of them were in at the same time.
“The most we ever had at one time was nine, so this matches it,” Millham said about the nine cubs. “I’ll say this, we’ve never had this many this early in the year.”
Some of the bear cubs were orphaned when their mothers were hit by cars. One cub’s mother is believed to have been killed by poachers. “It’s a matter of Fish and Wildlife getting them and turning them over to us,” Millham said.
Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care is the only wildlife rehabilitation center in California authorized to treat bears. The little cubs are hungry: Costs to feed them are adding up and could total nearly $12,000 by the time they are put into hibernation and released.
Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care didn’t expect to see so many cubs at once and is asking people for some financial support. When the cubs are eating at full capacity in about a month it will cost $100 per week to feed each of them, Millham said.
Donations are the only source of funding for the nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation center to feed and care for animals.
It is also trying to move forward with a long-envisioned plan to relocate and expand its facility on a lot near the corner of Pioneer Trail and Al Tahoe Boulevard in South Lake Tahoe.
Donations can be made through Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care’s website, www.ltwc.org, or its Facebook page.