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Escaped Bear Cub 'Tamarack' Burned in Wildfire Found Near Lake Tahoe

RENO (AP) -- An injured bear cub that escaped from a Lake Tahoe wildlife care center where he was being treated for burns suffered in a wildfire has been sighted clinging to a tree and officials at the center said Thursday they're optimistic he can be rescued a second time.

A spokesman for the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Center in South Lake Tahoe said they've been following up on several reports the past two days of sightings of the cub, nicknamed "Tamarack" after the Sierra wildfire that burned his paws last month.

The center released a photo Thursday of the bandaged cub it said was spotted by "some sharp-eyed hikers."

Burned Bear
A July 31, 2021 photo provided by Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care shows a bear cub that was taken in for treatment after it suffered burns in a California wildfire. Officials at the wildlife center at Lake Tahoe said Thursday, Aug. 5 they're optimistic they can rescue the cub a second time after it escaped from the facility

"Clearly it illustrates that he is able to climb trees, which is his natural safety mechanism and he remains in the South Lake Tahoe area. We are purposely not disclosing his specific location as human traffic will scare him into hiding or fleeing the area," the center said.

The center issued a plea Tuesday for help finding the 6-month-old black bear that escaped his enclosure and managed to tunnel under an electric fence.

It said then the 25-pound cub might have bandages on his front paws and likely climbed a tree or was hiding in a small space.

A homeowner in Markleeville, California, called the center July 26 after returning from the wildfire evacuation and finding the cub walking on its elbows because of burns on its paws, said Denise Upton, the center's animal care director.

They called the fire incident commander, who escorted them into the closed area where they found the cub in the home's backyard. The cub tried to climb a tree but couldn't because of his wounds, Upton said.

Before he escaped, the center said it likely would keep the cub through winter and release him in the spring.

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