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Tahoe’s Bears Awake and On the Move

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE -- Lake Tahoe's bears are waking up from their long winter naps looking for food -- in some cases along with tiny newborn cubs.

The cubs are vulnerable to dogs, coyotes and Tahoe traffic.

"It's a real precarious time for those little babies right now," said Toogee Sielsch of the Bear League in South Lake Tahoe. "Driving fast, excessive speeds on the roads. Mom may be able to move across the road fast but those cubs don't. They're only about 8 to 10 inches long at this point."

In addition to urging drivers to be on alert, the Bear League is asking people to avoid letting dogs run loose in the Tahoe area while the cubs are emerging.

Residents and visitors to Tahoe are always urged to help keep bears wild by making sure food and trash is locked away where bears can't access it. Bears can find plenty of natural plant food in the wild. The Bear League has many resources that teach people about bear behavior. http://www.savebears.org/

If you do find yourself face-to-face with a bear, experts say don't run. Instead, maintain eye contact, make yourself look big, back away slowly and make loud noises if necessary.

Tahoe's black bear population has a natural fear of humans.

"That's a very important thing, because the more the bears and wildlife in general fear us, the longer they live," Sielsch said.