California man admits to stealing 2 baby bears from den

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California man admits to stealing 2 baby bears from den

A California man has pleaded guilty after he stole two baby bears from their mother and then told authorities he couldn’t actually care for them.

Cody Dylon Setzer, 29, and one of his co-workers took the 4-week-old bears from their den in a fallen tree in Yreka in March 2019, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said Tuesday.

Setzer then contacted wildlife officials to say he’d found the baby bears along Highway 263.

The officials quickly became suspicious after they found no bear tracks or signs of habitat near the site where Setzer claimed to have come across the animals.

“Bear cubs are 100% dependent upon the sow and if they had been wandering on their own they wouldn’t have survived,” Capt. Patrick Foy of the department’s law enforcement division said.

Cody Dylon Setzer, 29, and one of his coworkers allegedly took the 4-week-old bears from their den in a fallen tree in Yreka in March 2019.
Cody Dylon Setzer, 29, and one of his co-workers allegedly took the 4-week-old bears from their den in a fallen tree in Yreka in March 2019.
AP

During an investigation, Setzer’s co-worker at a timber management company confessed and then led authorities to the den — about 90 miles south of where Setzer said he had found the bears.

“The other person literally brought [officers] back to the den site,” Foy said.

The den site had already been destroyed and the mother bear was never located.

The bear cubs were taken to a rehabilitation facility in Lake Tahoe before eventually being returned to their native habitat when they were old enough to survive on their own.

Setzer pleaded guilty in Siskiyou Superior Court to possession of a prohibited species and obstructing a peace officer in the course of his duties.

He was ordered to pay $2,290 in fines and complete 200 hours of community service. Setzer was also placed on probation for 12 months.

With Post wires

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