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A Thanksgiving miracle revisited: Bear cub near death in November completes remarkable recovery

By Matthew Renda
Sierra Sun
Monday, July 11, 2011

Thanksgiving Miracle revisited LAKE TAHOE — A black bear cub rescued from certain death on Thanksgiving Day last year has grown into a healthy mature bruin with the help of an assortment of dedicated volunteers and animal professionals.

Regional volunteers teamed with Ann Bryant, executive director of the BEAR League, and Madonna Dunbar, resource conservationist with Incline Village General Improvement District, to care for the orphaned bear after it was found during a vicious snowstorm on Nov. 25, 2010, just to the south of the Tahoe Meadows area near Incline Village.

This black bear, rescued last Thanksgiving from
thebrink of starvation, has grown healthy in the
comfortable environs of the Animal Ark in Reno.
Submitted to

The male cub — which weighed only 15 to 20 pounds at the time — was on the verge of starving and freezing to death, according to witness accounts. It was initially
Thanksgiving cub rescuedmistaken as a female.

“She looked dazed when I reached her,” Dunbar said during a November interview. “She was definitely underweight.”

A recent photograph of the same bear in his pen at the Animal Ark shelter in Reno presents a different picture.

“The bear's really grown and he looks fantastic,” Bryant said. “His ears fell off four days after being rescued due to frostbite, but he has little tufts of fur where his ears should

The orphaned bear cub drinks some bear          
formula in the living room of Ann Bryant,
executive director of the BEAR League, just
days after it was rescued from the Tahoe
Meadows area in proximity to the Mt. Rose
Highway. Submitted to


Bryant said officials at the Animal Ark have determined the bear is too accustomed to interacting with humans to be


“He's a pretty friendly guy,” she said. “Maybe too friendly.”

Bryant said being involved in the effort to save the bear “very rewarding.”

“The bear is in a good place and it will have a good life,” she said. “If only it could be released back into the wilderness, it would be perfect.”


Bear season

Ann Bryant, executive director of the BEAR League, is cautioning residents and visitors to the Lake Tahoe Basin to keep their windows closed when leaving the house to prevent bear incursions.

“Due to the heat, there is a tendency to keep windows open to cool the house while down at the beach,” she said. “Screens keep out mosquitos, but not bears.”
A bear will enter a house if it smells food and spots an easy access point, Bryant said.

Despite receiving multiple calls throughout the summer season — most often related to individuals leaving windows open while away — Bryant thinks bear human interactions this summer will not be a problem due to the high amount of berries and pine nuts in the forest and the number of fish in the high-running streams.

“It should be a good season,” she said.

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