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Bear gets in tense stand-off outside sheriff's office

By
Ben Hooper

Feb. 1 (UPI) -- A California sheriff's lieutenant captured video of her tense stand-off with a mother bear and cub that approached the station while refusing to hibernate.

The Placer County Sheriff's Office said Lt. Michelle Baxter started recording video when she spotted the two bears outside the sheriff's station in Tahoe City.

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The video shows the mother bear notice the camera and engage in a tense stare-down with the lieutenant.

The mother bear lunges at the camera, but ultimately does not attack the lieutenant.

"This is their land, we're just here visiting," Sgt. David Hunt told KOVR-TV.

"She sees us as a threat!" Hunt said. "That's her territory, people need to heed that warning. When a bear starts getting aggressive like that, it means she doesn't want you anywhere near her."

Ann Bryant, executive director of The Bear League, said the mother bear, known to researchers as "Ebony," didn't wake up early from hibernation, she never hibernated at all.

Bryant said about 30 percent of the local bear population has stopped hibernating completely.

"And that's our fault!" Bryant said. "A bear does not hibernate because of cold temperatures. They hibernate because there's no food. But in Tahoe, with all of the people that are here, there's food. We're feeding them all winter long and they're not going to sleep!"

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