By Macy Jenkins

TAHOE CITY (CBS13) — A bear sighting in Tahoe City turned into a standoff this week. A Placer County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant noticed a mama bear and her cub outside of the station. But when mama bear spotted the camera, she marked her territory with a stare down.

“This is their land, we’re just here visiting,” said Sgt. David Hunt, Placer County Sheriff’s Office.

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They’re smart, they’re resourceful and they never turn down a free meal. On Tuesday, Lt. Michelle Baxter spotted two bears outside of the North Lake Tahoe station just taking a stroll. She started taking video but when the mama bear saw her camera, she didn’t back down. And then she lunged toward the camera!

“She sees us as a threat!” Hunt said. “That’s her territory, people need to heed that warning. When a bear starts getting aggressive like that, it means she doesn’t want you anywhere near her.”

We turned to Ann Bryant, Executive Director of The Bear League, to get her take on the situation.

“She’s not unhappy,” she said, as she watched the video. “She’s lived around human beings her whole life. Her name is Ebony.”

But if it’s the dead of winter, why is mama bear even awake?

“She hasn’t hibernated for about 8 years!” Bryant said.

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Byant told CBS13 that 15 years ago, the 250 bears around the Tahoe Basin were all hibernating. But now. roughly 30 percent of the bears stay up all year long.

“And that’s our fault!” Bryant said. “A bear does not hibernate because of cold temperatures. They hibernate because there’s no food. But in Tahoe, with all of the people that are here, there’s food. We’re feeding them all winter long and they’re not going to sleep!”

So how can locals and visitors protect the animals?

“No garbage, no bird seed, no pet food,” Bryant advised.

And while it’s too soon to tell, she believes the excess food and lack of hibernation could come back to bite the entire bear species in the future.

“We are really seriously as a species tampering with Mother Nature!” Bryant said.

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Here’s what you can do to keep the bears away: don’t put the trash out until the garbage truck is nearby and store your trash in a bear-proof garbage can.