Bear Cub Injured in California Wildfire Escapes Rescue: 'We Need to Locate Him As Soon As Possible'
A bear cub that escaped from an animal rescue center is missing, and wildlife officials from Lake Tahoe are asking locals for help locating him.
According to ABC 7, California's Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care in South Lake Tahoe was treating the 6-month-old baby black bear for burns he sustained in a Sierra Nevada wildfire when the animal escaped their facility. The cub, who is nicknamed Tamarack after the fire that burned him, is missing after he managed to escape from his enclosure and sneak beneath an electric fence, the center said in a statement released Tuesday.
The center stated that while Tamarack was "not in imminent danger and is not a threat," they "need to locate him as soon as possible."
While both the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and local law enforcement assist with the search efforts, the public is encouraged to keep an eye out. People living around the Heavenly Valley ski resort and the Black Bart and Sierra Tract neighborhoods are especially encouraged to be on alert for the missing cub.
Tamarack, who is described as weighing 25 pounds, may have bandages on his front paws and could have climbed up into a tree or sought out a small place to hide. The center shared that the young cub is afraid of humans and that people should keep their distance from the animal — report any sightings to the tip hotline at 530-577-2273.
In an update posted to Facebook Wednesday, the center thanked the community for their overwhelming response in helping with the search for the missing cub.
"We are getting more calls than our team can quickly respond to, which is inhibiting our search efforts," they stated, encouraging callers to only report sightings if they have a location or sighting of a small bear that matches Tamarack's description.
"We are working round the clock to find him," they added, noting that they've partnered with animal rescue providers and search and rescue tracking experts to aid in the search.
Tamarack first arrived at the center on July 26. A homeowner notified the facility about the bear after finding the burned cub in their yard. Since taking in the cub, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care has chronicled his recovery on Instagram, where they've been posting frequent updates on his healing process.
"We know you are scared & in pain, but you are safe & we will do whatever it takes to help you!" the center posted along with a photo of "precious baby" Tamarack last month.