This story starts with a mystery: Last week, a 10-week-old baby bear was abandoned on the doorstep of The BEAR League, a Lake Tahoe-based non-profit that works "to keep bears safe, alive, and happy."
"It's very unusual. It's never happened before," League secretary and treasurer Tom Millham told New York Daily News. "We've had birds and other animals left at our doorstep but never a bear before."
On Facebook, BEAR League said the cub was left in a kennel in the yard and was very weak and dehydrated, weighing just under 5.5 pounds. She was rushed to the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, where she was bottle fed and examined by a vet.
Here, LTWC is using a bottle stuffed inside the tummy of a large stuffed animal to feed the baby bear, appropriately named Baby Tahoe, so she wouldn't need to be held by a human to nurse.
At the time Millham suspected, "Her mom had been taking care of her since she was born. She definitely missed her mom, no doubt about it. She didn't like being away from her but she has settled down a bit."
"We know nothing about her story, but are very happy someone knew enough to bring her to people who care...she will be just fine now," BEAR League posted. Still, they wanted to know where she came from.
"We will ask no questions, just call---anonymously---and tell us where she was found and what were the circumstances, if known," BEAR League said.
Now, her mystery seems to have been solved. BEAR League updated their Facebook to say:
"The BEAR League received an anonymous call this afternoon from a gentleman who claimed responsibility for rescuing the orphaned cub who was left in our driveway almost two weeks ago...He said he found her crying and hugging her deceased Mother near the Humbolt Redwoods State Park. He could not tell what the cause of death was and it was quite a distance from a road."
Heartbreaking. When Millham said Baby Tahoe was missing her mom, he had no idea. Like a real-life version of Bambi, but with a group of passionate animal advocates instead of singing critters.
"He described exactly what was out there when he left her, the color blanket he put her on, everything in detail," executive Director Ann Bryant told 7NEWS. She explains, "He notified authorities...he was told to leave 'it' alone. His conscience would not allow him to walk away and leave her to die...thankfully."
Baby Tahoe will remain at LTWC as they prepare her for a return to the wild. Then, they'll run DNA from her hair and blood to determine exactly where she came from and bring her back.
And while her story is certainly touching, this is mostly just an excuse to post these adorable videos of her: