Mother bear missing after man found with cubs, authorities say
State Fish and Game wardens are trying to track down a missing mother bear that was allegedly shot and possibly killed by a Northern California man who was spotted with two cubs outside a gas station.
The investigation unfolded after authorities received a tip that the man, whose name has not been released, was trying to sell two cubs out of a cage at a gas station in North San Juan, about 75 miles northeast of Sacramento, said Patrick Foy, a California Department of Fish and Game spokesman.
Authorities talked to the man outside the Sierra Super Stop, where he said he was "just trying to find them a good home."
"He told us he had shot the mother bear in self defense and the mother bear ran off, leaving the cubs behind," Foy said. "He apparently kept the cubs for a couple of days, then made his decision."
But after searching the man's property, authorities didn't find any sign of the mother bear, Foy said.
"There's a lot of parts to this person's story that don't add up," Foy said.
Authorities seized the two cubs — a male and female 5 or 6 six months old. The cubs weigh a healthy 11 and 13 pounds, Foy said, but because they are too young to be released into the wild without their mother they will spend several months at a rehabilitation facility in South Lake Tahoe.
There caretakers will try to raise them with "minimal human contact" so they can be released this winter, Foy said.
— Kate Mather