Employees at the Heavenly Mountain ski resort spotted the bear early Monday morning before the slopes opened. The bear was wandering around and appeared to be sick or injured. It finally lay down next to a small building.
He's only 14 months old and only 49 pounds -- significantly underweight for a bear his age -- but he's recovering well at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care. Workers at Heavenly Mountain Resort first spotted him limping and seemingly in pain.
"The bear came out, looked like it was looking for help, walked away back into the woods, came back and almost like it was trying to nuzzle up with some people and just seek help," said Sally Gunter, the Heavenly Mountain resort communications manager.
The bear was tranquilized, then put on a ski patrol toboggan where he was given oxygen the entire ride down. Veterinarians say in addition to the bear being underweight, they found him bleeding in the shoulder. His paws were also sore. How the bear got these injuries is anyone's guess, but those taking care of him believe the drought is to blame.
"He still should be in hibernation, but this weather is so up and down, we're getting chipmunks coming out a month early, we're getting robins up here a month early. The wildlife is reacting to our drought," said Cheryl Milham from Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care.
Now you may remember a photo shared on social media back in January. It's of a bear running through a course at Heavenly. Resort employees don't think it's the same bear they found today. They say the bear under care right now is much smaller than the one in this photograph.
The bear's prognosis is good. Veterinarians are giving him antibiotics and before they release him back into the wild, they will try to fatten him up with special bear cub formula.