At the Lake: Bear cub left on doorstep

Ann Bryant woke up Saturday morning to a different kind of orphan on her doorstep - a bear cub.

An anonymous caller first contacted Bryant, executive director of the BEAR League, then dropped the 6- or 7-month-old cub off in a dog kennel at her house sometime in the middle of the night last Friday.

The person had told her that the cub didn't have a mother and had been hanging around his or her home, Bryant said.

Bryant said she instructed the person about the legal requirements - to report the cub to the California Department of Fish and Game. "Instead, somehow they caught him and left him here," she said.

Bryant said she then notified the Department of Fish and Game and brought the cub to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care in South Lake Tahoe for rehabilitation.

"He's a very hungry cub who's been without a mother for a while," said Cheryl Millham, co-founder of LTWC. "He's about 6 or 7 months old, probably. Not old enough to be out on his own."

Millham said rehabilitation generally involves teaching the bear where to look for nonhuman sources of food.

Bryant said she grew concerned when it sounded like Fish and Game was going to release the cub back into the wild without rehabilitation. But a wildlife biologist with the department decided Tuesday to keep the bear at the wildlife care center, Millham said.

"We have pretty strict guidelines to be a candidate for rehab; they have to be under 50 pounds and not acclimatized to humans," said Steve Martarano, spokesman for the Department of Fish and Game. "This one is about 40 pounds and aggressive, which is a good sign - it means it's not used to people."

Martarano said Fish and Game hopes the people who dropped the bear off step forward, so that they can know the area the bear came from and where they should release it.

People shouldn't pick up wildlife and should call the department instead, he said.

The new cub joins two others and the burned cub known as "Lil' Smokey" at LTWC, Millham said.


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