Orphaned bear cubs from Yosemite being raised at Lake Tahoe
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Three bear cubs arrived at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care on July 5.
Orphaned in Yosemite after a car struck and killed their mother on the Fourth of July, the cubs — two males and one female — will live at the South Shore wildlife care center until winter. Then they will be released into the wild for hibernation if they are healthy.
“If all goes well, we’ll feed them until mid- to late November, then cut back on the food to prepare them for hibernation,” Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care‘s founder Tom Millham said.
Discovered in Yosemite, the cubs are property of the National Park Service. Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care expects to release the cubs back in the National Park in early 2017.
In the meantime, the rehabilitation center will care for the cubs, feeding them and giving them toys for stimulation while keeping them away from human contact.
“We want to offer as many things as possible that they’ll find in the wild,” Millham said. “We’re trying to give them a combination of things they like with the things they need.”
Currently, the bears are mourning the loss of their mother. Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care staff often hears the cubs crying for her.
“They’ll do that for a week or two. They miss their mom,” Millham added. “They mourn just like people.”
The cubs, roughly 4 to 5 months old, weigh 8 to 10 pounds. Most bears are born weighing one pound and need their mother to survive, according to Millham. Up until Monday, the cubs’ entire lives revolved around their mother, who played a vital role in rearing them.
“The fortunate thing with these three is that they have each other,” Millham said.
Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care will soon receive one more cub, which was living alone in Ramona, California. According to Millham, it is better to raise cubs when multiple live together. The 19-pound female will join the Yosemite cubs this weekend.