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Man: Bear cubs needed a good home

June 8, 2012 at 12:00 AM

SACRAMENTO, June 8 (UPI) -- A California man allegedly trying to sell two bear cubs told game wardens he just wanted to make sure they got a good home, investigators say.

The cubs, a male and female believed to be siblings, are going to a rehabilitation center, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday. Workers plan to cut down on their human contact and then place them in a den in the wild while they hibernate this winter.

"Then we hope they go back to sleep and wake up a few months later," said Patrick Foy, a spokesman for the Department of Fish and Game.

The cubs appear to be around 5 or 6 months old. One weighs 11 pounds and the other 13.

The bears were found at a gas station in North San Juan, after someone called a poaching hotline and reported a man was there with two cubs in a cage. The man told Nevada County sheriff's deputies and a game warden he had killed the cubs' mother on his property and was "just trying to find them a good home."

"He told us he had shot the mother bear in self-defense and the mother bear ran off, leaving the cubs behind," Foy said. "He apparently kept the cubs for a couple of days, then made his decision."

Foy said a number of things about the story "don't add up." Wardens were unable to find the mother's body and said the man had no injuries suggesting an encounter with a bear.

The man could face criminal charges, Foy said.

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