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Property owner shoots and kills bear cub that entered South Lake Tahoe home

Fish and Wildlife said South Lake Tahoe homeowner shot bear in self-defense
Fish and Wildlife said South Lake Tahoe homeowner shot bear in self-defense 01:19

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — A bear cub was shot and killed by a property owner after sneaking into an El Dorado County home on Memorial Day.

A photo of the bear while it was still alive The Bear League

The Bear League, a nonprofit that works to keep bears safe and wild in their natural habitat, announced it on social media on Tuesday. The organization said it received a call from the homeowner's neighbor who said they witnessed the shooting.

The Bear League then notified the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Fish and Wildlife officials said the homeowner acted in self-defense when attempting to get the bear out of his home.

The man shot the bear twice when the bear cub wouldn't back off. The bear ran outside, climbed a tree and then fell to the ground. That is when the homeowner shot the bear again, officials said.

Ann Bryant, director of the Bear League, said it seemed like "[The property owner] deliberately wanted to kill that bear."

The Bear League's social media post said they reported the shooting to Fish and Wildlife and hoped an investigation into it would reflect what they "consider to be an obvious crime."

However, Fish and Wildlife said no crime was committed as the homeowner acted in self-defense.

Bryant said the 16-month-old bear was taking a nap in a tree near the South Lake Tahoe home before entering it. The shooting happened at around 2:30 p.m. Monday along Pioneer Trail.

"The resident who shot him knew he was there," Bryant said. "He was aware that there was a bear that had taken a nap in his tree and he left his door wide open."

Bryant explained that the bear walked into the home through the open door likely trying to find something to eat.

Fish and Wildlife said the bear weighed around 75-85 pounds.

Effort begins to strengthen bear protections in California

Meanwhile, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has opened up a public comment period on a draft of a black bear conservation plan.

The plan hasn't been updated since 1998 and would include things like new models to better track the population of bears and to minimize human-bear conflict.

"It's a modern reflection of black bears in California and their value and how we can make sure they're healthy and continue to thrive in the future," said Peter Tira, a Fish and Wildlife spokesperson.

The public comment period for the draft of the black bear conservation plan is open until June 14.

Bryant said that despite what people think—although there are more eyes on bears—the population of bears is not increasing.

Kyle Parker, a spokesperson for the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office, said a bear entering a home when someone is there is very unlikely.

"Bears in general, especially the black bears that we have in California and here locally in El Dorado County, they are more afraid of people than they are aggressive to them," Parker said.

Despite that, Bryant told CBS13 earlier this year that the Bear League had evicted more than 100 bears from homes and buildings in the Tahoe area during the winter season.

"It is just the bears doing what they need to just compensate for us taking over their forest," Bryant said in March.  

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