Tahoe Wildlife center saves orphaned bear cub | TheUnion.com

Tahoe Wildlife center saves orphaned bear cub

Axie Navas
The Union news service

The Meeks Bay cub, shown on Sunday, June 9, was put under sedation for an initial medical exam. Dr. Kevin Willitts gave the 5-month-old cub a clean bill of health.

Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care rescued a 5-month-old bear cub after its mother was found dead in Meeks Bay last week.

Staff at the animal rehabilitation center responded to a call June 6 regarding a male cub treed near the southern border of Sugar Pine State Park. When LTWC Secretary Tom Millham arrived on scene, California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials had already located the decomposing body of the mother and loaded it into a truck.

The bruin was likely killed by a vehicle, according to Millham. He estimated she had died about five days earlier.

"We're not sure, but we assume she was probably hit by a car. There was no evidence of a gunshot wound," he said.

Wildlife experts set a trap near the tree Thursday, but when they returned to check its contents the next morning, they found a coyote instead of the baby bear. They freed the coyote and reset the trap, according to Millham.

Ann Bryant, executive director of the BEAR League, drove to Meeks Bay Saturday after a report that the cub was climbing down from the tree. She scooped the animal up in a net and he was transported to the LTWC facility, according to Millham.

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The 17-pound cub is now recuperating at the South Shore facility on a diet of milk, oatmeal, grapes, melon and peaches. He had a clean bill of health, considering how much time he spent away from his mother, Millham said.

"His condition is pretty good. He was a little dehydrated, but he's starting to get his appetite back. We've had cubs come in at 8 or 9 pounds before," he said.

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