Marc Kenyon, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3515
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988


An orphaned black bear cub was safely returned to its remote northern California forest home in late February after five months at a Lake Tahoe wildlife care facility. Once near death, the male yearling cub has been deemed by experts to be fully rehabilitated, healthy and very likely able to survive on its own.

The cub was emaciated and weak when it was first spotted by a logger working in the Lassen National Forest (Tehama County) last September. Evidence at the scene indicated that the tiny bear’s mother had died before it learned to forage for food on its own. It was also suffering from severe hair loss, which would have made it unlikely to survive the approaching winter.

A warden from the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) was able to easily capture the cub with a trap. When it arrived at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, a licensed rehab center, the tiny bear weighed only 18 lbs. — far less than the usual weight of about 30 lbs. for a cub that age. With the assistance of charitable donations, staff at the nonprofit center treated the animal to get rid of ringworm and nursed it back to health over a five-month period.

At the end of February, DFG biologists picked up the cub – which then weighed a hearty 90 lbs. – and transported it from Tahoe back to the Lassen National Forest.

Courtesy of DFG