TRUCKEE, CA (KRNV/CNN) – Wildlife officials in California are warning people to not approach bears, after what looked like an innocent and cute moment between a bear cub and some snowboarders at a ski resort.
Officials say such an incident could be harmful to both people and animals.
The rare meeting was caught on tape earlier this week at Northstar California Resort.
“They were feeding her, handing her sandwiches. In other words, taming her,” said Ann Bryant, the executive director of the BEAR League. “So it was going to get bad…it was already getting bad.”
Bryant’s non-profit is dedicated to keeping bears safe and wild in their natural habitat.
“This cub approached people because she didn’t know any better,” she said. “This is very rare. She’s old enough, almost, to be alone, but she’s still dependent – and now she’s dependent on people.”
Bryant said they believe the cub’s mother likely died, which prompted her to approach people.
Bryant also explained that being comfortable with humans is bad news for bears.
“Let’s say she goes back into the wild and she grows up and adds about 200-300 pounds on to her weight. She’s big, she’s strong, and she still thinks she can approach people? That’s not going to be good and somebody is going to shoot her,” Bryant said.
If you do encounter a bear in the wild, experts say the best plan of action is to leave it alone.
“If you meet a bear on your property, in your yard, you need to let that bear know you can’t be here – yell at him and stomp your feet. Be territorial,” Bryant said. “We want to keep our wildlife wild. They don’t need to be interacting with human beings. It doesn’t end well for them.”
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife captured the bear cub to have her evaluated.
She might end up euthanized or otherwise given to a sanctuary if medical tests reveal she is healthy.