In the video, a mother black bear is seen swimming in Lake Tahoe with her three cubs on a crowded beach with people trying to beat the heat on South Lake Tahoe. According to new reports, the temperature hit 32C. Temperatures have recently hit as high as 48C.
Some believe the bear was running away from the heat. However, locals have pointed out that bears are not as scared of people as many believe.
Throughout the heatwave, there have been reports of animals being impacted by the record-breaking temperatures the region is experiencing. Habitats have been impacted by the forest fires, droughts and other environmental consequences.
The discussion about the bear family was sparked by a Twitter user who wrote, “Do y’all understand how hot it had to be for this bear to bring her cubs near all these people. The woman who filmed the bears going swimming said people on the beach were “shocked” to see them there.
Lola Saffy replied, “That poor mama bear. Her and her poor cubs had to be roasting. She was probably also a little like “let’s go kids, that thermometer isn’t going drop down any time soon”. Those people didn’t look nervous???!”
“The wild part isn’t that they are going swimming. Ofc bears swim all the time.” wrote another person. “The wild part is that this mother bear took her cubs out swimming NEAR HUMANS. Bears are known for how protective and territorial they are ESPECIALLY mothers. It’s a huge risk to be near humans.”
However, residents of the local area reported that this was more normal than it looks.
“I live in Lake Tahoe, this isn’t weird. We run into bears at least weekly at my house. More so because I walk my dogs twice a day. They don’t bug people. It hasn’t been over 92 the past week. Yes, that is hot for this time, but not abnormal to see a bear & cubs taking a dip,” wrote someone in response.
“I live in Lake Tahoe. The bears are pretty used to ppl as I see them on bike rides, driving around, etc pretty commonly,” wrote another resident.
However, what can be agreed is how strange it is to see a bear in a placed packed with humans. This was the case for Jennifer Watkins, a woman who was at the beach.
She told KCRA, "We were all a little shocked” about the bear sighting.
Local law enforcement said that humans being that close to bears was “very dangerous”.
“We are in their territory when we’re up in the Foothills and the Sierra [Nevada],” Lt Nelson Resendes from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office told KCRA. “Don’t feed them, don’t entice them, don’t provoke them and, obviously in a setting like this … don’t approach them … respect their space.”
There have been reports of black bears suffering from encephallitis, a brain disease. This is a condition that leads the animal to put their guard down around humans. Since March 2020, four bears are reported to have been diagnosed with the condition. It is a virus, which can also be found in humans.
Local authorities, such as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Placer County Sherriff’s Office, are monitoring the situation and working to tackle the problem of bears ending up in areas with high levels of human population.