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California man pleads guilty to taking 2 baby bears from their den

Poached Bear Cubs
Posted at 3:47 PM, Mar 17, 2022

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Wildlife officials in California say a man has pleaded guilty after admitting that he took two bear cubs from their den.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife says 29-year-old Cody Dylon Setzer pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited species after contacting them when he could no longer care for the cubs.

On March 9, 2019, Setzer notified wildlife officials that he had found the baby bears along Highway 263 north of Yreka in Siskiyou County.

But when wildlife officers went to the site Setzer mentioned, they did not find bear tracks or habitat.

Armed with that information, wildlife officers spoke to Setzer’s co-worker, who confessed to them and cooperated with their investigation.

"During the investigation, wildlife officers determined Setzer and a local timber management company co-worker took the cubs from a den inside a tree that had fallen across an access road to a worksite," the department said in a press release.

The cubs' mother was never found.

On April 8, 2020, the baby bears were released back into the wild after being taken to a rehabilitation center in Lake Tahoe.

Last November, Setzer pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited species and obstructing a peace officer in the course of his duties.