LTWC improving enclosures after permit placed on hold due to bear escape

Laney Griffo
Tamarack was taken in for treatment after it suffered burns in a wildfire, to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care. He escaped after two weeks at the facility.
Provided/Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care)

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has ordered Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care to make changes to their facilities before they can take in more bears.

The order comes after a 6-month old bear escaped from the facility on Aug. 3. The bear, whose paws had been burned in the Tamarack Fire, managed to tunnel under the electric fences.

Animal Care Director for LTWC Denise Upton said their permit has been placed on a temporary hold while they make improvements to the doors and fences, which are already underway.

“Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care currently has a CDFW Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit to conduct care and rehabilitation of native wildlife — excluding big game species such as deer, elk, and black bears,” said Peter Tira, public information officer for CDFW.

Tira continued to say that LTWC’s agreement to rehabilitate black bears expired on July 22.

“In response to the escape of the Tamarack bear cub, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care is required to make improvements to its facility enclosures and fencing. Upon completion, CDFW will perform a site inspection and evaluate Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care’s request to renew its agreement to temporarily possess and rehabilitate injured and orphaned black bear cubs,” Tira said.

In the meantime, the facility has not had to turn away any injured bears. Upton said they have partnerships with other facilities in the area that can take any bears that may come before the changes are made.

In addition to making the upgrades, LTWC is busy caring for several animals that have been injured in the past few months, including a porcupine who had been burned, an owl and a flicker. They are also currently caring for several raccoons, chipmunks and coyotes.

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.