My Turn: And now, the rest of the story about recent bear cub release | SierraSun.com

My Turn: And now, the rest of the story about recent bear cub release

Ann BryantSpecial to the Sun
Photo by Ann Bryant andamp;#8220;Oliveandamp;#8221; the little bear cub was nourished back to health by the Bear League last fall before it began its rehab at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care in South Lake Tahoe.
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LAKE TAHOE andamp;#8212; The article last week on the cub from Carnelian Bay who was released back into the wild was the kind we all like to read; one with a happy ending. The front-page coverage told how the young bear was taken to a pre-made den back in the wilderness after being cared for by humans. What the article didnandamp;#8217;t discuss was how this youngster was orphaned and rescued. So for the andamp;#8220;rest of the story,andamp;#8221; allow me to take you back to last spring and tell you how it all began.Late one day in May of 2011, the BEAR League received a call from a hiker who discovered a tiny baby bear alone and just off a trail in the woods behind Carnelian Bay. He didnandamp;#8217;t see a mother bear anywhere and was concerned by how small the cub was. We found our way to the site and determined that she was a nursing cub, age three months. There was no mother present but we never take cubs, or any wildlife for that matter, without first verifying they are truly orphaned, because often the mothers have told them to andamp;#8220;stay putandamp;#8221; while they do something else and return to their young later. No one can raise a bear cub as well as a mother bear.Hoping her mother would return, we left the cub overnight, knowing she was strong and healthy and could climb trees to stay safe. We were back out first thing in the morning but she wasnandamp;#8217;t there. We figured that meant her mom had retrieved her and the two had gone on with their lives together. However, a few days later, several calls came in to our office reporting sightings of a lonely little bear cub, now down in the neighborhood. Disappointing as it was, we knew it must be her and we notified the DFG. As is always the case, we were told more time must pass without a mother before a rescue would be considered and they had no staff to accomplish this anyway. Tragically, throughout the past several years weandamp;#8217;ve verified several cases of illegal poaching deep in the woods on the North Shore and were now convinced her mother had been killed.Calls continued to come in to the BEAR League hotline and by now the cub obviously desperately needed help. Fish and Game did not respond so we asked the concerned residents to notify us the second they saw her and to tree her if possible. Two compassionate gentlemen did exactly that about a week and a half after she was first spotted alone. I raced to the scene while calling DFG for approval and support. They didnandamp;#8217;t answer. The tiny, now-weakened 10-pound cub was clinging to a tree on the corner of Olive and Nevada. With rescue equipment in hand and assistance from the two men, I reached up and easily pulled the helpless orphan into my capture net. The guys christened her andamp;#8220;Oliveandamp;#8221; as we loaded her into my truck and I rushed to our office in Homewood.As the satellite for Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care (LTWC) and the only legally permitted wildlife rescue center for the North and West Shore (and Truckee), the BEAR League keeps formulas in supply for all native species, including bear cubs. The scared, lonely, starving baby was immediately re-hydrated and fed the appropriate food. We watched her rally. She romped around our clinic while we waited for the DFG to give us the andamp;#8220;go aheadandamp;#8221; to transport her to our sister organization in South Lake Tahoe. Finally the call came in, approval was granted and we loaded the now-revived and rascally wild bear cub back into our truck, and down the road we raced. She was turned over to our good friends at LTWC, the only licensed bear cub facility in California. She lived there, with excellent care, until the DFG first met her last week when they took her into the woods to her new, and richly deserved, life in the wild.Itandamp;#8217;s extremely rewarding to have played a vital roll in saving the life of this orphaned cub. Our thanks go to LTWC for raising her for the past eight months and to DFG for bringing her back to where she is now totally capable of surviving and thriving. Go, little bear; live long.andamp;#8212; Ann Bryant is executive director of-the Homewood-based BEAR League.




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