Listless Carnelian Bay bear suffered from cancer |

Listless Carnelian Bay bear suffered from cancer

A sedated, immobilized Carnelian Bay black bear awaits a wildlife veterinarian's examination inside CDFW's Wildlife Investigations Lab near Sacramento.
Provided / California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Earlier in the month, a California Department of Fish and Wildlife environmental scientist specializing in human-wildlife conflicts responded to worried reports about a very sick or injured bear in the Carnelian Bay area of northern Lake Tahoe in Placer County.

These reports were bolstered by a troubling video clip that showed a staggering bear slowly entering a small patch of habitat in a residential area. When the department of fish and wildlife arrived at the scene, the listless animal was located under a nearby structure.

Wildlife managers acted swiftly under animal welfare protocols to anesthetize the bruin and transport it to its Wildlife Investigations Lab near Sacramento for further expert evaluation.

A veterinarian’s exam confirmed a severely dehydrated and emaciated adult female black bear with sunken eyes, protruding bones, and only weighing 115 pounds – or about half the average size for a female bear more than 10 years of age.

The bear’s significantly compromised condition, coupled with abnormal swelling of her mammary glands and other lesions, led the department of fish and wildlife to a presumptive diagnosis of “end-stage metastatic cancer.” As such, the animal’s suffering was ended as swiftly and humanely as possible, and the initial diagnosis was later confirmed via necropsy.

CDFW ends trapping effort of public safety bear

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recently ended a multi-trap effort to remove a public safety bear from Lake Tahoe’s North Shore after the trapping effort proved unsuccessful and there were no more signs of the offending bear in the community.

The trapping effort was initiated last month by department of fish and wildlife law enforcement following a bear attack of a victim inside his North Shore home. On Aug. 27, a bear entered an occupied residence and severely bit a male victim, who was trying to encourage the bear to leave the house. It was an unprovoked attack. The bear had an exit, began to move toward the exit, and then turned back away from the exit into the house to bite the victim.

Between Sept. 5 and 13, forensic evidence (DNA matches from samples collected at the house) proved the attack was caused by the same bear responsible for four other break-ins into occupied homes – and into one house twice the same night.

As with all public safety incidents, the decision to trap and remove the bear was made by California Department of Fish and Wildlife law enforcement. Department of fish and wildlife law enforcement is required to investigate and make a decision regarding trapping a public safety animal based on interviews, physical evidence and the totality of the circumstances surrounding an incident. Public safety is among California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s chief responsibilities with regard to black bears in Lake Tahoe. This was not a depredation event.

The department of fish and wildlife obtained approval from all property owners where bear traps were set. Property owners were fully supportive and cooperative with the trapping effort. Two bears that entered the traps during the effort were tagged and safely released after DNA analysis proved they were not the offending, public safety bear.

The trapping effort was active for two weeks. After the department of fish and wildlife determined that acquiring the target bear was unlikely, the traps were removed. California Department of Fish and Wildlife communicated this to interested Tahoe residents on Sept. 23. CDFW continues to monitor the North Shore community for bear activity and is poised to collect and analyze any forensic evidence from any further break-ins. The department will reinstall traps if necessary to protect the safety of the Lake Tahoe community.

The department of fish and wildlife recently started its “Bear Naked Truth” blog on bear behavior and encounters with humans in the Tahoe Basin. To learn more, visit

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.