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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif .– Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care (LTWC) is fixing some issues with its bear enclosure so that they can once again house small bears in need of care.
On July 25, a bear with burnt paws was found at a house in Markleeville after residents returned after being evacuated due to the Tamarack fire. The six-month-old, 20-pound bear was transported to LTWC in South Lake Tahoe for treatment. The bear was named “Tamarack” by the association and was treated for its burns.
Although bandaged and still in rehabilitation, the determined little one escaped from the care center on the night of August 1.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is responsible for directing injured and orphaned wildlife to state facilities. The LTWC is currently a fully-fledged licensed rehabilitation center for all native wildlife except game species such as deer, elk and black bear. They had a second license to temporarily care for black cubs under 50 pounds that were orphaned or in need of care, but that license expired in July, around the time Tamarack escaped.
In order to obtain the renewal of their license, LTWC is working to resolve certain installation problems identified by the CDFW. Once these are fixed, their license can be renewed according to Peter Tira, PIO for CDFW.
âThere is an application for the renewal of the secondary license, and once things are sorted out, they will do another inspection and then process their application,â Tira said. “We need a facility in Tahoe, we want nothing more than to renew their license.”
There are only three other establishments in California that are licensed to accommodate cubs, one at each Auburn, Ramona, and Santa Rosa. Tira said they had the public facility outside of Sacramento, but it was small and not intended for any short or long term care.
Tira said there are currently 16 bears in state care facilities, four are the result of fires and the other 12 are under rehabilitation. There were eight cubs housed at LTWC in 2020, most of which were orphaned after their mothers were hit by cars.
A representative from LTWC said they are working with CDFW to make improvements to their pens and fences at the new Al Tahoe Blvd facility. Larch is the only animal to have escaped while in its care during 43 years of activity, although rehabilitating birds sometimes fly to hunt, only to return on their own. .
âThey didn’t lose any permits, but this situation had an impact on their ability to care for bears,â Tira said. “They have been good partners with us for a long time, and I am sure he [permit] will be accelerated once repairs are made. It has been a constructive and collaborative process. “
Tamarack’s “escape” made the news around the world with people hoping for his survival in the forest.
A bear cub believed to be Tamarack has been monitored via wild cameras by Toogee Sielsch, a Lake Tahoe bear advocate. After her escape, Tamarack was seen following a mother bear and her cubs, learning where the sow was showing her cubs where food was and other survival lessons. CDFW was also watching this little one and decided he was doing well on his own, gaining weight and surviving. He therefore chose not to mark him or to try to bring him back to a rehabilitation center.