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Bizarre Bear Behavior in Northern California Linked to Brain Disease, Source Unknown

RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS Sacramento) -- If you come across a bear, that bear's first instinct should be to run away, but researchers with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife have come across some bears with very odd behavior.

"Someone opened the trunk and it climbed in the trunk and that is not normal behavior. And that's got to be a red flag right? That's got to be a red flag that something is not right," said Dr. Brandon Munk.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife senior wildlife veterinarian started studying these overly friendly bears in 2014 at the investigations lab in Rancho Cordova.

Researchers at UC Davis even performed CT scans to determine what was causing the peculiar behavior. Necropsies showed the bears had encephalitis, a neurological disease that causes inflammation of the brain but there's no telling how they're getting it.

It's shown up in four bears over the past year. They've been found in several counties including El Dorado and Tulare.

CONTINUE READING AT CBS SACRAMENTO: Bears Behaving Oddly Raising Red Flags About Mystery Disease

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