Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care takes in orphaned bear cub |

Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care takes in orphaned bear cub

Autumn Whitney
Four of the five bear cubs currently on Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care's property huddle close together in their enclosure.
Courtesy / Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care |

More online

For more information on Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, visit or find the organization on Facebook.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Shortly after Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care’s annual open house on Sunday, Aug. 7 — which saw nearly 1,000 attendees — the organization received yet another bear cub.

The 6-month-old came from Santa Maria, Calif., after being orphaned and found with multiple abscesses on her body. She arrived on the LTWC property on Tuesday, Aug. 9, weighing 10 pounds.

“Ten pounds is a little light. Normally cubs are 15-20 pounds at that age, maybe 25 pounds,” LTWC founder Tom Millham said.

The nonprofit’s newest cub was placed on antibiotics to heal the abscesses, and medication was hidden inside a mini muffin topped with honey.

Apart from the muffin, the Santa Maria cub is treated like any other cub in rehabilitation, and eats the same food as her den mates.

At her latest checkup on Friday, Aug. 26, all but one abscess near her tail had cleared up. Foxtails in the same area were also removed. At the same checkup, she weighed in at 22 pounds — meaning she gained a total of 12 pounds in approximately two and a half weeks spent on the LTWC site.

“She’s on the road to recovery,” Millham said. “When we put the food down, she’s first in line.”

Wednesday, Aug. 31, was the cub’s final day on antibiotics. At her next checkup on Sept. 7 she will be weighed again and doctors will check the abscess site, as well as look for foxtails near her tail and ears.

The newest cub joined LTWC’s four other cubs, one from Ramona, California, and three from Yosemite. All are on track for a potential winter release, and the rehabilitation center is planning on preparing them for hibernation in the latter part of November, when they will slowly downgrade the amount of food given to the cubs.

Exact releases are not yet planned, as dates are up to the organizations that rescued the animals.

“Fish and Wildlife will tell us when to release their two, and Yosemite will tell us when to release their three. They’ll come pick up the cubs,” Millham explained.