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Bear cub’s body stolen from county freezer

A dead bear cub is missing.

The 100- to 150-pound cub was taken from an El Dorado County Animal Control freezer sometime over the weekend. An animal control officer noticed the carcass was gone a little before 8 a.m. Monday.

Animal Control picked the dead cub off the side of Emerald Bay Road near Taylor Creek where the animal is presumed to have been hit and killed by a vehicle sometime Saturday morning.



The bear was put in an outdoor freezer that is kept unlocked. It holds dead animals until they are picked up by a rendering company every Wednesday.

“I went out this morning to look and see if it was a brown bear or a blonde bear and I looked and it was a ‘no bear,’ ” said Animal Control Officer Douglas Petri.



Bear experts are mystified by the theft because the cub was small and not especially valuable.

“I looked at this and made a number of phone calls,” said Dave Bezzone, a game warden for California Department of Fish and Game. “I really suspect somebody picked up that animal because they are kind of a majestic beast and I think that animal will just be buried in the woods.

“I kind of feel that given the size of this bear, it’s not what a hunter would consider trophy or be truly much interested in.”

Ann Bryant, founder and executive director of the BEAR League, said the possibility that the cub was stolen for profit shouldn’t be ruled out.

“The thing with bear gallbladders is it’s a Chinese medicine,” she said. “The street value here isn’t as high, but if they get them to the Orient they’re worth a lot … but this bear was small, why in the world would someone want it?”

Bryant was particularly upset by the loss because she wanted to look at the cub to see if it is a bear that’s been plundering homes in Spring Creek Tract area.

Earlier in the fall Fish and Game set traps and issued depredation permits to catch a mother and her three troublesome cubs because they continually broke through residents’ windows to get at sweets and other people food.

Anyone with information about the cub is asked to call 1-888-DFG-CALTIP. Parties may remain anonymous and cash rewards are a possibility.


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