California wildlife officials say a Northern California man who confessed to taking two bear cubs from their warehouse and notifying authorities after failing to care for them has been convicted of possessing a banned species.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A Northern California man who admitted taking two baby bear cubs from their warehouse and notifying authorities after failing to care for them has pleaded guilty to possessing a banned species, wildlife officials say.
Cody Dillon Setzer, 29, and a colleague whose identity was not found and who, in collaboration with authorities, took the month-old bear from a fallen tree across a forest road, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said Tuesday.
Setzer contacted wildlife officials on March 9, 2019, and told them he had found the baby bear on Highway 263, north of Eisenhower, Cisque County, the department said.
But wildlife officials became skeptical of his story when they went to the site and did not find the bear’s track or habitat.
“Bear cubs are 100% dependent on seed sowing and would not have survived if they had thought for themselves,” said Capt. Patrick Foy, the department’s law enforcement officer.
Setzer’s colleague at a timber management company admitted to the wildlife office and cooperated in the investigation, Faye said.
“The other person literally brought them back to the Dan site,” he said.
The Dan site was located just before Salt Creek and Interstate 5 in Shasta County, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of where Setzer said he had found them and destroyed them. Their mother was never found, Faye said.
The bear cubs were taken to the CDFW’s Wildlife Health Laboratory in Rancho Cordova and later transferred to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care for rehabilitation, which they say is the youngest to benefit from it.
The cubs were returned to their original habitat in Shasta County on April 28, 2020, after growing old enough to survive on their own, the department said.
The department published the story about bears on its blog on Tuesday to encourage those who may be witnessing wildlife poaching to contact authorities.
In November, Setzar was convicted by Cisque Superior Court of possessing a banned species and obstructing a peace officer from carrying out his duties.
He was fined $ 2,290 and ordered to complete a fee and 200 hours of community service. Cesar was put on probation for 12 months and his hunting and fishing facilities were suspended for the duration of his probation and he was sentenced to 90 days in the county jail, if he successfully completes probation, the department said.