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Bear cub’s fate uncertain

Shannon Darling, Sun News Service

The fate of a small, orphaned black bear currently in the custody of the State Department of Fish and Game is still unknown after members of the Bear Preservation League tried to transport the young bear to a wildlife care facility.

Ann Bryant, president of the Bear Preservation League, alarmed sheriff deputies Wednesday morning when she and others were seen loading the bear into the back of her vehicle.

Bryant took the bear from the Gold Coast Complex at Squaw Valley, where the bear was being held.

Normal procedure would turn the bear over to Fish and Game but Bryant didn’t want that to happen.

“Their position (Fish and Game) is to kill him,” Bryant told officers. “I’m the president of the Bear Preservation League, I’m not going to let that happen.”

Reports of the bear had been coming in to officials at the ski resort for over a week.

The 30-pound, 1-year-old bear was locked in a cage in the back of a green Toyota Landcruiser, as Bryant tried to explain her position to officers from the El Dorado County Sheriff’s office, Placer County Sheriff and wildlife specialists from the United States Forest Service Lake Tahoe Division after they stopped Bryant at her house in Homewood.

Bryant was on her way to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care center in South Lake, an animal care center that recently applied for a permit that would allow volunteers to take up to three bear cubs at a time.

“I’m just trying to save the little guy’s life,” Bryant said.

Sheriff deputies seemed sympathetic but the ultimate authority rests with the Fish and Game Department, Deputy Gary Pavone said.

“Everybody is working for the same goal here, just in different ways,” Pavone said.

Bryant was eventually allowed to transport the bear to the wildlife care facility in South Lake.

Wilson, a wildlife specialist for the Forest Service, believed that the bear probably wouldn’t have survived in the wild by itself.

Upon arriving at the wildlife center, Cheryl Millham, executive director of Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care reported the bear as dehydrated and very hungry.

However, the bear’s visit to the wildlife care center was short.

Several hours later Fish and Game authorities loaded the bear into their vehicle and transported it to their Wildlife Intervention Laboratory in Rancho Cordova, said Bob Malm, a member of the Bear Preservation League.

The bear will be evaluated there.

According to Fish and Game regulations this bear will not be considered a cub because it is just over 12 months. Bears over 12 months qualify for euthinization, Malm said.

“The whole purpose for removing him was to ensure his safety,” Malm said.

“We’d like to see him survive.”

Fish and Game officials could not be reached for comment.


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