Skinny Bear Searches for Food in Video, Drought Impacting Wildlife

In the above video taken by a game camera placed by Kim Cabrera, an emaciated bear in Southern Humboldt searches for food. Because of the drought, wildlife are struggling to get enough to eat, says Cabrera, an animal tracker. The problems caused by the drought are “compounded by there normally being somewhat limited food this time of year anyway,” she explained. “Bears come out of hibernation having used a lot of their stored nutrients up during the winter. The early spring foods are somewhat limited – grasses, ant colonies, grubs, etc. The bears are often skinny early in the season.”

This bear, probably a couple years old, normally would gain weight on plentiful summer food. However, this year, the food isn’t as abundant as usual. “Unfortunately, the drought is affecting all the wildlife,” Cabrera said. “Even the deer are skinny this year.”

Cabrera does not recommend feeding the bears though. “It’s not legal in California,” she said, “and it can lead to habituated bears who can become ‘problem bears.'”

“‘A fed bear is a dead bear’ is the old saying that is appropriate here,” she explained. “It’s best to let them find their natural foods.”



  • There is also a wasp I believe is moving northward (due to weather change, I assume). They eat every bit of flesh from the inside of windfall – apples and probably other stuff. But I just saw them at a friend’s, under an apple tree. He’s at about 2,000′.

    They leave NOTHING. Anyone else seen these where they were never seen before?

      Thanks Felix – I’ll be interested in seeing other people’s reports….BTW, the banding on the apple skin is due to an interesting chemical oscillation phenomenon called Liesegang rings….have you ever noticed this on old apples?

      • Do you really think so? It seemed more like a spiral to me – created by the wasps just eating in their precise perfect way………..I wouldn’t know though – yer the scientist.

    • I live at just shy of 1800 feet 4th generation that have lived on this properties and we have always had these wasps. all of our berries and fruit trees seem to be doing quite well this year, we have had at least four separate Bears going after our chickens and rabbits so far perhaps the population is getting too big?

      • The human population perhaps……I hope your solution is electric fencing……………
        I didn’t say the trees wouldn’t produce, I said the wasps were eating the windfall apples (little early for windfall). Have you noticed this? Do you disagree this will have an effect on bears?
        Hope your chickens can be protected without the sacrifice of any bears.

        • I apologize I thought you were referring to the wasps being something new to Humboldt County due to climate change I have not noticed any apples falling yet however the leaves are coming down like rain and all the cherry plums are falling fast but as far as bear numbers go according to the Fish and Wildlife website the bear population has almost tripled since the mid eighties going from somewhere between 10 to 15 thousand to over 30,000 of course more bears and more people equal more encounters I guess my point was just that there seems to be plenty of fruit on the trees and berries on the bushes this year so I don’t see the argument that bears are starving because of climate change or drought but maybe Benbow is just a wetter part of humboldt than the rest


    I’m surprised we’re not hearing more about them – they’re already all over here, and it’s just the beginning of July – I’ll post a vid of them soon….little monsters!!



      • No baiting needed. The hollow tree itself seems to be quite attractive to the wildlife as is. Yes, this is the same tree. I was disappointed that an opossum raided the turkey vulture nest and ate the eggs. The same opossum knocked over a camera I had placed inside the tree, causing a data error on my SD card. Ruined the videos, unfortunately.

  • Me too Moo – I’ve asked, but I haven’t run into anyone who knows (or has noticed) but you, yet. Maybe we’ll hear of some others as people get a chance to check out this thread……

    Personally I think this is why there seem to have been more bear sightings this year than I remember ever before. Am I right about that? Kym, any numbers you’re aware of comparing the number of sightings/ encounters from the recent past?

  • Surely it wouldn’t hurt for someone to drive a load of dumped grocery store produce out away from human habitation once in a while so the bears could get a little to eat without endangering anyone.

  • “Bears come out of hibernation having used a lot of their stored nutrients up during the winter. The early spring foods are somewhat limited – grasses, ant colonies, grubs, etc. The bears are often skinny early in the season.”

    Everyone I have talked to locally tell me that bears do NOT hibernate around here due to the mild winters.

    • That’s what I’m told, too, but I think they do go drowsy and inactive… a sort of quasi hibernation.

    • Only part of the winter. Mostly the mothers who will be giving birth to cubs. They will change dens during the middle of winter too. Our relatively mild winters mean that they can be active at any time of year. I’ve found their tracks in every month of the year, so they don’t hibernate as solidly as bears in more snowy climates.

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