Press Release

Reward of $5,000 Offered in Case of Bear Cubs Separated from Mother

Reward Offered by Animal Legal Defense Fund for Information Leading to Arrest/Conviction


Siskiyou, CA — The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals — headquartered in Cotati, California, is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for illegally separating a pair of bear cubs from their mother near Highway 96 in Siskiyou County.

On the morning of Saturday, March 9, 2018, California Fish & Wildlife agents responded to reports of an isolated pair of bear cubs — believed to be less than a month old, and each weighing less than 4.5 pounds — found alongside Highway 96 near Yerka.

The two cubs, who have been named Blaze and Yerka were transferred to a wildlife rehabilitation facility, where they will be cared for until they are able to be returned to their wild homes. Subsequent investigation has led Fish & Wildlife agents to believe the bear cubs had been unlawfully separated from their mother.

Under California law, any person convicted of hunting, catching, capturing or killing a bear who is under one year old or who weighs less than fifty pounds is guilty of a misdemeanor and can be imprisoned for up to one year in county jail and/or fined up to $40,000 if the crime was committed for profit or personal gain.

“Wild animals deserve to be just that — wild and free,” says Animal Legal Defense Legal Executive Director Stephen Wells. “Blaze and Yerka are too young to survive on their own, and so whoever separated them from their mother essentially sentenced them to a slow death from exposure. We are grateful that law enforcement was able to reach the bear cubs in time and support their efforts to identify those responsible.”

The Animal Legal Defense Fund urges anyone who has information about this case to come forward and help secure justice for Blaze and Yerka.

If you have information related to this incident, please contact CalTIP, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) confidential secret witness program, at (888) 334-2258 or by texting “CALTIP”, followed by a space and the message, to 847411 (tip411). Callers may remain anonymous. CDFW may offer rewards for information leading to the successful capture and prosecution of perpetrators.

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