In the fall of 1998, a beautiful mother bear (named Natalie) and one of her two young cubs were killed by a contract trapper for the California Department of Fish and Game. Her crime? Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A big male bear had tried to get some improperly stored garbage from the cellar of a cabin where a tourist was renting. The tourist was afraid of bears and called the DFG to kill him. The death trap was set but it was Natalie who went in. One cub was captured and killed. The other cub stayed high in the trees, crying, and would not be captured so he survived and was cared for by the people in Homewood, along Tahoe's West Shore.
This whole tragic story had everything the media dreams of: intense hostility between people who appreciate wildlife and the DFG.
There was a community rallying against a disrespectful tourist, a murdered mother bear and cub, and an orphaned cub. So it hit the news! People began calling the person who was trying to save Oliver's life, asking what they could do to help and what could be done to make sure such a thing never happened again.
A few of these people arranged to meet, having not known each other previously, and the BEAR League was born. We now have more than a thousand members and are continuing our mission of helping bears and people live peacefully in this world together.