Homewood Marina at Lake Tahoe, photo courtesy BEAR League
"Sunny" the bear was found shot Monday morning at Homewood Marina on Lake Tahoe, July 30, 2012. Photo courtesy the BEAR League
LAKE TAHOE, CA - A well-known bear on Lake Tahoe's west shore was found shot and killed and has prompted an investigation by the Department of Fish and Game.
It happened on the beach near the 5200 block of West Lake Boulevard in Homewood.
Workers at the Homewood Marina found the bear, known as "Sunny", on Monday around 7 a.m. while putting a boat in the water. They initially thought the bear was hit by a car but found a gunshot wound on the bear's backside.
"We got there and the workers covered her with a sheet and we pulled it back and I, of course, recognized her right away," said Ann Bryant of BEAR League, an organization that raises awareness about bear safety.
"It's like the sun has gone out in Homewood because our Sunny is gone."
A warden and biologist from The Department of Fish and Game responded to the beach to retrieve the bear. Spokesman Kyle Orr said the shooting is an ongoing investigation and declined to comment on any details.
On Tuesday afternoon, there were still stones on the beach with speckles of Sunny's blood.
Bryant said the bear was 2.5 years old. The bear was known as "Sunny" because she had a golden-colored coat and was a daytime bear, according to Bryant.
"That bear was the sweetest bear -- most gentle. She was just like a great big neighborhood pet. Unfortunately that was her demise," said Bryant.
The Department of Fish and Game is not releasing any information about potential suspects. Bryant said neighbors gave conflicting reports of when they heard gunshots fired in the area.
The bear is now at the Department of Fish and Game's laboratory.
According to Orr, in general, a person can defend himself from wildlife if he feels threatened. You can also get a permit, through a formal process, if a wild animal damages your property or livestock. However, it is illegal to shoot a wild animal just for being on your property if you're not threatened.