Tahoe Wildlife Care takes in bear burned in Tamarack Fire

Laney Griffo
Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care received a call Sunday evening about a bear with burned paws.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care has taken in their first bear of the season and it was a victim of the Tamarack Fire.

Around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 25, the center received a call from a homeowner who had just gone back to their home in Markleeville, after being evacuated. They found a bear cub in their backyard that was walking on its elbows because of burns on its paws.

LTWC immediately called the incident command who got them into the area, which is still closed to the public. They found the bear under the homeowner’s deck and they tranquilized him.

“He tried to get away, it takes a little while before the tranquilizer sets in and they don’t want to be messed with,” said LTWC Animal Care Director Denise Upton.

He had tried to climb a tree but couldn’t because of his wounds.

The bear cub, which they’ve named Tamarack, came to them with burns on all four paws. That night, they gave Tamarack pain killers and wrapped his paws.

LTWC was able to quickly treat the bears paws and give him painkillers.

Upton said today they are working with UC Davis to get his paws the tilapia skin treatment which will speed up healing.

He is five or six months old and should weigh around 35 pounds.

“He came to us underweight, he weighs 21 pounds and was dehydrated,” Upton said. “But other than that, he was in pretty good condition.”

LTWC will likely keep the bear through the winter.

She added that it will be easy for them to get him up to weight. They will likely keep him through the winter and release him in the spring, depending on when the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says he can be released.

“We want people to be mindful, as people return to their homes, of other injured wildlife. We’re here to help,” Upton said.

“Big thank you to the homeowner for calling and incident command for getting us in so quickly so we could get this kid the help he needed,” Upton added.

LTWC is asking for donations to help care for Tamarack. Donations can be made at

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