Meet Our Winter Guests

December 2015

Winter is usually a quiet time for LTWC, but not this year! We have several unexpected guests staying with us, including bear cubs, a bobcat, an osprey, two owls and a bald eagle. Each will be with us for several weeks or months before they are strong enough to survive on their own in the wild.

Sequoia Cub
Sequoia cub

The two Sequoia bear cubs (above) arrived at LTWC in October severely malnourished, weighing only a fraction of what cubs their age typically weigh. They will skip hibernation this winter in order to keep eating and gaining body weight.

It’s not unusual for LTWC to have bear cubs with us over the winter. However, by late fall, our bear cubs are usually hibernating and do not require any food. This is the case for our two Chico cubs, brother and sister, who have been with us since June 2015. These two have already started receiving less food and bags of pine needles to use for nests. Over the next few days, they will shuffle and adjust until their nests are just right. Soon, they will curl up in their nests and remain dormant for the next few months.

Although the two Sequoia cubs would also love to curl up in their pine needle and straw nest for the winter. But these two cubs arrived at LTWC in October severely malnourished and underweight. Like the Chico cubs, the Sequoia cubs were born last spring. But — unlike other cubs their age who weigh between 50 and 60lbs — these two weighed only 7.1 lbs and 20.1 lbs each. So instead of hibernating, they will stay awake through the cold months to eat so they have enough body weight to survive in the wild.

It will take the months of eating specially-formulated bear milk, apples, avocados, pears, grapes, pomegranates, fish, nuts and acorns for them to gain the weight they will need in time for a spring release.

Chico bear cubs

Compared with the Sequoia cubs, the two Chico cubs  are a healthy weight and ready to start hibernation!

Frances the Bobcat

On September 25, a bobcat was found on the side of the road in Truckee after being struck by a car. Frances was named after the woman who kindly dropped him off at a local veterinary clinic prior to him coming to LTWC for rehabilitation. His ninth thoracic vertebrae was fractured, which made walking impossible.

Although Frances has greatly improved since his arrival and is working toward release, he will have to spend the next four to six months with us undergoing rehabilitation for his spinal injury. Along the way, his level of function will be determined to ensure survival in the wild. As the staff at LTWC fondly say, “he still has a hitch in his giddy-up” and he has NO problem eating!

Frances the bobcat

Emma the Bald Eagle

On October 31, a bald eagle was found in the boat camp at Emerald Bay. Soon after her arrival at LTWC, she had four pins placed in her right wing to stabilize a fracture. She is visited every other day by Dr. Kevin Willitts (of Alpine Animal Hospital) for a dressing change, wound debridement, antibiotics and pain medication. Her diet consists of 2 to 3 Kokanee Salmon (fish) every day.  Healing is somewhat complicated due to dead tissue and lack of skin to cover the wound.

Emma the bald eagle