SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) – Some big, hairy guests surprised swimmers at a beach in South Lake Tahoe over the weekend.
Jen Watkins took out her cellphone to savor the moment a mama bear and her three cubs decided to take a family trip to Pope Beach.READ MORE: Illegal COVID-19 Testing Site Shutdown in Grass Valley
“There was a little bit of Yogi Bear in the whole situation,” Watkins told CBS13. “I’ve been to Yellowstone numerous times and would have paid to see a bear but you know, just go in your own back yard.”
Watkins says mama bear first grabbed a family’s cooler and started eating their leftovers before deciding on a family swim with everyone else surrounding them.
“It was exciting. For the most part, people stood back and were enjoying the moment. It was super cute. We weren’t at the zoo, but it certainly felt like it,” said Watkins.READ MORE: 'It Scared Me:' 8 Year-old Twin Rivers Unified School District Student Restrained For 22 Minutes
At the same spot in 2016, another mama bear and her three cubs went swimming with everyone else like it was just another day at the beach. California Fish and Wildlife worry these beachside encounters are becoming more common.
“We absolutely get concerned. We absolutely get concerned because the more bears become custom to people, the more likelihood there is for some kind of potentially dangerous conflict,” said information officer Peter Tira.
Tira says more bears will visit popular beaches over the summer in search of water during the dry season and also look for human food. Watkins says it’s clear bears are getting lax, but so are humans. She hopes everyone remembers it’s animal territory that people need to respect.
“I just happened to be there and had a phone and took the video. I would never have gotten any closer than what I got. Other people were a little bit more willing, let’s just put it that way,” said Watkins.MORE NEWS: SacRT Secures $400M To Modernize Light Rail System With Low-Floor Cars
After the bears took off, many noticed a bald eagle in a tree. Watkins says it was a perfect day to get up close and personal with nature.