Searles says cubs are likely dead

The two high profile bear cubs in Mammoth Lakes who lost their mother to a car accident in September have apparently died. Fish and Game refused to rescue them, saying they were strong enough to survive the winter alone. Mammoth Wildlife Specialist Steve Searls and Mammoth Police Officers said the cubs were still suckling from their mother and, in their experience, would not live without rescue.

When asked about the cubs, Searles said he has not seen them in the last 14 days and knows their exact home range very well. Said Searles, “There have been no sitings. I believe they are both dead two weeks after Fish and Game examined them.”

Fish and Game had refused to allow the rescue of the cubs after their mother was killed. Tahoe Bear Rescue was ready to take them. Fish and Game said, no. Then Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist Tim Taylor went to Mammoth with Warden Chad Elliot to assess the cubs. Mammoth Police Chief Dan Watson said they determined the cubs were over 30 pounds and in their “professional opinion could survive the winter.”

Fish and Game code does say that suckling cubs should be rescued. Since local Fish and Game refused to speak to us, Sierra Wave Media asked Andrew Hughan of Sacramento Fish and Game why the local men seemed to have overlooked the fact that the cubs were still nursing from their mother. Both Searles and police said they saw the mother’s body and that it was clear the cubs were still suckling.

Hughan said that the game warden and his Lieutenant “observed the bears and determined that they met all the qualifications of the policy and were left alone to survive.” Hughan said Searles is a private citizen with no position in Fish and Game. Searles had estimated the cubs were more like 20 pounds with no skills to feed themselves.

Hughan said, “We do not make these decisions lightly. If the wardens thought that the cubs were in danger they could have taken different actions.”


36 Responses to Searles says cubs are likely dead

  1. cl October 23, 2012 at 12:28 am #

    I think we all knew this in the back of our minds. Once again some idiot humans thought they knew best and once again we let some animals down

  2. SierraFan October 23, 2012 at 2:05 am #

    The actions of Fish and game here are completely disgusting!!! These two bears were sent packing and so should the officer that made this call!

  3. Trouble October 23, 2012 at 5:34 am #

    Maybe our Fish and Game people should admit they made a poor judgement on these cubs and make changes to their hard headed ways.

  4. Wayne Deja October 23, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    …Another good job by DFG…..Biologist Taylor and game warden Elliot….sleep well tonight…then ,why not wake up early in the morning,pack up your belongings,move to the big city,where your “skills” are better suited….

  5. Well alrighty then October 23, 2012 at 7:41 am #

    That is just pathetic, sad and not right

  6. Eastern Sierra Local October 23, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    ……But to date no bodies have been recovered and the only evidence of death is not seeing them in their normal range. They could have also gone into their winter sleep too.

  7. Big AL October 23, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    Or … someone picked them up? Or .. they’re out there still?

  8. Realist October 23, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    Whatever Searles and MLPD says, the DFG will do the opposite. The actual facts do not matter.

  9. ONE voice October 23, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    All this probably could have been prevented if only Compassion were more important than Red Tape or Laws. These little lives deserved a chance. Hopefully we learn from this one.

  10. Kathy October 23, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    So very sad. My heart and Love go out to these cubs. Such an unhumane decision.

  11. Melanie Brown October 23, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    Yep, Fish & Game doing what they do best. Little as possible.

  12. Susan October 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    They should have been saved! Some people make me so sick!

  13. Glenda M Galahan October 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    The Fish & Game men should have errored on the side of the bears and had them rescued. They were not old enough to be on there own and now are probably dead. Hope the weighs on your mind always. If not hopefully you run into these to little ones when they are grown and they pay you back two fold.

  14. Jeff October 23, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    Hughan: I have a question. Do they (government)instruct all of you to BS the public? Why is it that you could be the brother of Lackey who is just as bad as you are Sir. Please a majority of the public might buy the idea that if the wardens thought the cubs were in danger they would have taken different actions. Just say they took the action which cost California Fish and Game the minimal amount of money. While Searles might not have any education on the bears I do think he would be honest in his thoughts and opinions on this matter. Fish and game wonders why the public doesn’t trust nor care for the department. Well for starters we would appreciate honesty!!! Why was their no Vet there to determine the outcome for the cubs or to give there opinion on the matter? We all know Biologists opinions and so called facts are skewed. As PROVEN by outside agencies whose numbers for the most part NEVER add up to those of your agency.

  15. Citizen-Mammoth Lakes October 23, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    It doesn’t take a college education to become an expert in any particular field. Steve has chosen to study bears in their habitat and deserves a little more respect than “just a citizen”. I am deeply saddened by this outcome, although I think we already knew what it would be. I just wish there was something that “WE” could do to change future decisions or outcomes such as this.

  16. sierragrl October 23, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    rather interesting that Fish and Game in the Tahoe area is actively seeking a cub of a mother they recently sedated, causing them to get separated…they are using the media asking people to report if they’ve seen it. Don’t know why the guys here are such arses.

  17. Jon October 23, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

    Maybe everyone should leave mammoth so the bears can roam their native range and not be hit by passing cars. We are all responsible for their demise.

    • Realist October 24, 2012 at 9:35 am #

      What Searles does is help people and bears to coexist together in Mammoth, an island of human habitation in the vast High Sierras. It’s been working for over a decade, in spite of Bishop DFG.

  18. Pam Hryskiw October 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    Disgusting. Regardless of the “expert” opinion of the department (HA) what would it have hurt to listen to actual bear re-hab experts and erred on the side of caution to give these cubs at least a fighting chance. Thankyou to those who did step up with offers of help and those who are responsible for actively denying the bears that help should be ashamed of themselves. I certainly am.

  19. Charles O. Jones October 23, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    I will reserve judgment until the cubs deaths have been confirmed.

    • Wayne Deja October 24, 2012 at 6:45 am #

      Judgement on what ?….either way,whether these two cubs are dead or not,these so-called experts made the wrong decision.They took the easy way out by having to do as little as possible to insure these bears had a chance to survive.

      • Charles O. Jones October 30, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

        @ Wayne Deja,
        Judgement on whether or not the DFG made the right call.

        If the cubs actually survive and thrive, I believe there is a strong argument that the DFG made the correct decision on the matter. For the cubs sake and for the DFG’s sake – I hope they made the right call. Beyond that, I’m not interested in the Steve Searles vs. DFG drama that is happening in this thread.

        • Wayne Deja October 30, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

          Charles…..still no judgement call here…IMO,for what it’s worth…..DFG took the easy way out with the matter….first by lying about their weight and age…no 20 pound cub that still has to rely on their mother for it’s survival and food is going to be able to make it on it’s own….maybe too much “red tape” to hand over the cubs to Tahoe bear rescue…Seems to me Steve Searles had an intrest in making it to where these cubs could,as you put it “survive and thrive”…DFG did not…..If I,and I think others too were up in that area that day,somehow,someway,those two little cubs would’ve ended up in the back of someones camper shell and on their way to Tahoe,where it seems obvious someone would have done something besides issueing a death sentance to the both of them.

          • Charles O. Jones October 30, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

            You seem very quick to deamonize the DFG. You accuse them of taking the “easy way out” and of “lying”. Do you have proof of this, or are you merely stating your opinions? Are you basing these assertions on Searles weight estimate vs. DFG’s estimate?

            A weight estimate is just that – an estimate. I work in a profession that often requires my coworkers and me to estimate the weights of humans. There are often fairly wide disparities in our weight estimates. And we are all professionals with years of experience. You may disagree with DFG’s estimate, but that does not automatically equate to them lying – at least not in my book.

            But ultimately the proof is in the pudding. If these cubs in fact do not survive, then the DFG has failed them. On the other hand, if these cubs survive, the DFG’s decision was justified and appropriate.

          • Benett Kessler October 30, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

            In our attempts to report news on this issue Fish and Game would never answer to the question – why didn’t they take into account the fact that the cubs were still suckling. DFG rules say a suckling cub should be rescued. No one would answer this. Benett Kessler

    • Realist October 24, 2012 at 9:40 am #

      Searles spends seven days a week with the bears in the summer, and has done so for over 15 years. He knows every bear, where it lives and where it ranges. If he says the cubs are dead, they are. Coyotes, Foxes, and Ravens will eat, disarticulate and scatter the remains over a wide area. There will be no physical evidence left.

      • Big Rick OB October 24, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

        You’re SO right,Realist…look what they did to Fossett’s remains.

  20. Small town girl October 24, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    I like the idea of staying postive about these little bears. Lets hope they have gone into winter sleep or just out wondering out side of their normal range. But, In the mean time, while staying postive. Lets fire those Assholes at DFG, they are clearly not here for the best intrest of our residents, human and fuzzy alike.

  21. tj nella October 25, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    This is the same agency who had a high ranking official hunting big cats in Montana that have been chased up a tree. THEY ARE NOT TO BE TRUSTED!

  22. Crystal October 25, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    I spoke to Andrew at Fish and Game as well and i entered the conversation with no judgement whatsoever hoping to find out why DFG refused to help. All Andrew did was SPEW venom about Steve and Ann Bryant and the people at SierraWave and told me Steve is not in a position of authority. After I informed him Steve is in fact an officer with Mammoth Lakes PD he tripped over his own words and continued spewing venom, saying he has no weight with DFG at all. What a shame that DFG cannot cooperate with the local wildlife officer who knows these bears better than anyone else in the world. Time for a change.

    • Observation October 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

      Searles is not an officer with the Mammoth Lakes PD nor is he an employee of the Town. He is a contractor under contract with the Town. His contract says that he is to advise, report, and coordinate with the Police Chief. His contract states that he is the wildlife officer – but to say that he is an officer with the MLPD is simply incorrect.

  23. ferdinand lopez October 25, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    there seems to be alotta similarity,between mammoth town council and D.F.G

  24. john Delgado October 31, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    Looks like tha D.F.G. is the modern version of tha “Sheriffs of Nottingham” eheheh 🙂

  25. DON'T GIVE UP ON CUBS November 24, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    Hey everyone before you throw the towel in like Steve has regarding these 2 cubs faith, I have positive information that these 2 cubs are alive and with another Mom. There was another Sow with 2 cubs in the same area. She got hit by a car and survived. Now I called my sources Ann Bryant from the Tahoe bear League about the safety and what could be done on her end.
    She told me 99% when cubs are orphaned by there mom being killed by hunters or car accidents that they go into survival mode and stay in trees were it’s safe Once the cubs cry out loud for mom and she doesn’t show, They yell out a scared panic sound were all female bears know they are in trouble. A Mom bear with cubs with adopt stray cubs. Now when Steve is asked about the other mom and cubs that also got hit in the same area and survived, Has he seen her and her 2 cubs? I have a good feeling MOM BEAR 2 rescued the strays and got the hell out of the area.

    • LOL November 25, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

      Don’t give up your day job. The mother bear you are talking about has two light brown cubs. The two black cubs are dead and died because they were on mother’s milk and their mother was killed.


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