LAKE TAHOE (CBS SF) – Three Northern California bears left orphaned a year ago charged back into the wild Thursday for a second chance at life thanks to the work of Lake Tahoe Wilderness Care Inc.

“These cubs came to LTWC as small orphans last summer. They’ve spent the past several months eating, growing and playing with each other, and are now ready to fend for themselves as wild bears,” reads the Facebook post from LTWC.

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All three of the cubs were rescued from the Tahoe basin, according to LTWC’s Tom Millham. Two were separated from their mothers and a third was hit by a car on highway 50.

“We thought he was dead,” said Millham. “I had him there in my arms and we were driving him away when he lifted up his head and looked at me like ‘what are you trying to do to me.'”

The bear had suffered a concussion and couldn’t immediately be reunited with its mother. He and the other cubs were nursed back to health by the center. Now a year old, they are about 50 lbs. Millham says that size generally allows bears the strength to survive in the wild for days until they can find food on their own.

“There are no real predators for bears aside from other bears and humans,” said Millham.

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On Thursday the Cubs were sedated and loaded into a truck for release in a remote location. First Track Productions captured the process for LTWC. In their video below you’ll see the release of the two bears found near the south shore. The third bear was freed farther north, closer to its origin:

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/122788578″>Bear Cub Release – Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/acwithft”>First Tracks Productions</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

In addition to bears, the LTWC assists owls, bobcats, coyotes and other critters. They say they’ve nursed some 20,000 animals and have been able to release about 13,000 back into the wild. They offer webcams for those interested in tracking animals in recovery.

 

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