Rescued bear that escaped from care, likely spotted, appears healthy

A bear, likely to be Tamarack, was spotted and appears to be healthy. (Provided / LTWC)

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The bear cub rescued from the Tamarack Fire, and subsequently escaped from a local shelter, was likely spotted Sunday in the wild and seems to be doing well, according to California Fish and Wildlife.

On July 25, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care took in a 6-month old bear cub, which they named Tamarack, whose paws had been burned in the fire. They treated his burns and helped him start gaining weight.

However, on Aug. 3, the bear escaped from LTWC facilities.

Last Sunday, a bear was spotted in a tree that looked like Tamarack. CDFW sent a biologist, wildlife officer and a veterinarian who were joined by a veterinarian and staff from LTWC to observe the bear.

“We observed him with binoculars for quite a while,” said Peter Tira, CDFW information officer. “When we got there and he scurried about 30 feet up the tree, which was a good sign, we want them to be afraid of humans.”

While they can’t be absolutely sure that the bear is Tamarack, he was the right age and had similar markings. He did not, however, have bandages on his paws.

They did a search of the area and found bear scat that had berries and other natural foods. There was no human garbage in the scat, meaning that bear is able to provide for himself sufficiently.

There was no mother bear present but at that age, bears are able to be self-sufficient, officials said.

“We decided unanimously to leave the bear be,” Tira said. “There is no reason to capture the bear and subject him to additional trauma.”

LTWC said they agree with CDFW’s assessment.

“The area that he’s in has plenty of food and water,” said Greg Erfani, LTWC board member. “He’s in an area that’s easy for us to monitor so if he becomes distressed we can go back in and get him.”

LTWC staff have asked the public to stop looking for Tamarack.

Even though the search for Tamarack has been called off, Tira said they still encourage people to call in if they see a hurt or distressed bear.

CDFW is currently treating two other bear cubs that have been burned from various fires in California.

“Our ultimate goal is for the wildlife to be released to nature,” Tira said. “The wildlife is first and foremost to us.”

Even with Tamarack in the wild, LTWC continues to care for sick or injured animals.

Erfani asks anyone who sees an animal that might need help to call them at 530-577-2273.

The bear was acting like a normal, healthy bear should act. (Provided / LTWC)

Laney Griffo is a Staff Writer with the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication to the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User