Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care provides update on bears |

Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care provides update on bears

Tribune staff report
Cinder's burned paws are healing well and she is slated to be moved closer to the area where she will eventually be released.
Photo courtesy of Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care |

Last Friday Fish and Wildlife brought Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Inc. (LTWC) the Gardner Mountain bear cub, which LTWC assisted in trapping on Oct. 9.

LTWC named the cub Gardner.

On Oct. 4, Gardner’s mother was hit and killed by a car on Highway 89, across the street from the Cantina restaurant in South Lake Tahoe.

Gardner was up a tree directly adjacent to where his mother died. During the next five days, LTWC received many calls, according to Tom Millham, secretary and treasurer of LTWC, “telling us Gardner was in their area. But, he was moving from street to street and from the west side to the east side of Highway 89.”

On Oct. 16, Millham went on all three local radio stations pleading for help from the residents and others in the ‘Y’ area, that if they saw Gardner to please call LTWC and let them know where he was.

“We had spoken with California Fish & Wildlife and they were sending a biologist up with a trap to get Gardner and help him,” Millham said. “It worked. We got a call from 13th Street, telling us that Gardner was right across the street from Anderson’s Bike Rental. I got there within 10 minutes and found Gardner within another 15 minutes. He had already crossed Highway 89 to the west side.”

California Fish & Wildlife took Gardner to headquarters in Rancho Cordova and kept him there until Oct.17, at which point they brought him up to LTWC.

LTWC will rehabilitate him with the other bears.

On Wednesday the three cubs from Paradise were released back into the foothills in Butte County. Nearly as quickly they received the 12th cub, a record for LTWC, the total was down to nine. There are now eight cubs in the bear cage and Cinder is in the bobcat cage.

Cinder had a veterinary visit with Kevin Willitts, DVM, from Alpine Animal Hospital on Oct. 9 to examine her paws. He had not seen her since Sept. 30 and, at that time, he decided to put her into her cage without any bandages on her paws. This was the first time since Aug. 3 that she was “Bear-footed,” Millham said.

“On Aug. 30, he told us to watch and see if she does any excessive licking or if we see any small pools of blood and he would see her in one week,” Millham said. “I saw him at his hospital the next Monday, Oct. 6, which would have been one day prior to him examining her in his one-week schedule. He asked me how she was doing and I said there were no problems. At that time he decided to give her an extra two days and he would stop by on Oct. 9 to see how she was doing. On the ninth, he saw nothing to change his mind and decided to let that good Tahoe air get to her paws and scheduled his next visit for two weeks.” Willitts instructed LTWC to start preparing to transport Cinder back to Washington state sometime in middle- to late-November so she can complete her rehabilitation closer to where she will eventually be released. Cinder is slated to be released sometime next year. Willitts wants her to spend the winter in the same area she came from. She is scheduled to be released near the Methow Valley.

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