SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) - An escaped bear led to a temporary bear ban at a Tahoe rescue center. The state is now requiring that Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care make repairs before allowing them to care for any additional bears.
Ann Bryant, executive director of the Bear League, and her team rescued a bear this past August but was told by the state not to bring it to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care.
"It's just kind of a major setback," said Ann Bryant.
That message came after Tamarack the six-month cub whose paws were burned in the Tamarack Fire dug under the facilities fence and escaped. The escape led to an all-out search for the bear and a quest for answers of how he got out and the security of the facility.
"We don't want these little bears to be escaping and be running off and not being able to be cared for," explained Bryant.
Before the facility can renew its permit and welcome back bears, the Department of Fish and Wildlife is requiring them to dig deeper fencing and make improvements to security on the doors of the bear enclosure. Bryant's team has worked with the rescue facility for 35 years.
"It's disappointing for their whole staff and everyone at Tahoe. We have always been able to have bears here in rehab," said Bryant.
Denise Upton is the animal care director at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care. She said the facility is already working on making improvements. The fencing has already been completed and the care center is currently waiting on making changes to the door.
While making the required changes, Upton said they can still take on the care of other animals.
The state has three other rehab centers for bears. Upton said because of this, the facility has not had to turn any bears away during the time their permit has been placed on hold.
Bryant said she is confident that bears will be taken care of while the facility works on their improvements.
"The bears will be alright, they have places to go, they have good, safe places to go and be cared for," she said.
Upton expects changes to be completed by the end of November.
Tamarack was eventually found. He is the only animal to escape while under their care during the facility's 43 years in operation.
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