By Cheryl Millham
It is time to dispel some myths about our black bear families.
Mother bears are not dangerous. Nor, are they more aggressive when they have cubs.
Mother bears will not bring their cubs out of the den until they can climb a tree. If a mom feels her baby is in danger, she will send it up a tree for safety. Sometimes she climbs up after them and sometime, she will sit at the base of the tree.
If it is time to nurse her babies, she will climb the tree and position herself with her back leaning against the trunk and straddle a branch. The baby will come to her and climb onto her lap and nurse.
If a dog is harassing her babies and the tree is far off, she might swat the dog. It is her way of telling the dog to stop.
So, if you see a mom with babies (the babies are about 5 pounds at this time of the year), don’t let your dog chase them.
Tom and I have been between a mom and her babies many times. She is not dangerous to us. She just wants to get her kids back and, as soon as she gets them close to her, she will send them up another tree.
Such is not the same with a mother grizzly bear. She will attack first and ask questions later. Grizzly bears are very dangerous. I am so happy that we have black bears here and not grizzlies.
Here is a little informational tip. There are no more grizzlies living in California, even though you will see a picture of a grizzly on the California state flag.
So, why am I telling you this information? You guessed it. We have just gotten sighting of mother bears with little, tiny cubs, following her.
Keep your eyes open and you might see a little bit of nature right here in your own back yard. So, enjoy the wildlife around you. And remember, when you shoot wildlife, use a camera.
Cheryl Millham is executive director of Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care on the outskirts of South Lake Tahoe.