Mama bear and cubs surprise Calif. beachgoers

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 9:47 AM EDT
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KOVR) – Some beachgoers in California got a surprise when a family of bears joined them in the water.

Jen Watkins captured video of the mama bear and her three cubs at Pope Beach in South Lake Tahoe over the weekend.

“There was a little bit of, like, Yogi Bear in the whole situation,” Watkins said.

She said the mama bear first grabbed a family’s cooler and started eating their leftovers. The bears then decided on a family swim.

“It was exciting,” Watkins said. “For the most part, people just stood back and were, you know, enjoying the moment. It was super cute. We weren’t at the zoo, but it felt like it.”

Video recorded at the same spot in 2016 shows another mama bear and her three cubs swimming with everyone else like it was just another day at the beach.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife worries these beachside encounters are becoming more common.

“We absolutely get concerned, because the more bears become accustomed to people, the more likelihood there is of some kind of potentially dangerous conflict,” department information officer Peter Tira said.

Watkins said it’s clear bears are getting lax, and so are humans. She hopes everyone remembers it’s animal territory that people need to respect.

“I just happened to be there and had a phone and took the video,” she said.

“I would never have gotten any closer than what I got. Other people were a little bit more willing, let’s put it that way.”

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