NORTH SAN JUAN, Calif. – A man being investigated for trying to sell bear cubs at a northern California gas station claimed he was just trying to find them a good home after shooting their mother.
A passing motorist called the Department of Fish and Game's poaching hotline Wednesday to report a man with two black bear cubs in a cage at a gas station in North San Juan, about 75 miles northeast of Sacramento.
The man, whose name has not been released, told officers he wanted to find a home for the cubs after he shot their mother in self-defense on his property a couple of days earlier, the Sacramento Bee reported.
However, authorities said there were a number of inconsistencies in the man's story and they were still investigating the case, according to KTLA-TV.
Officers went to the man's property but found no sign of the mother bear and did not see any injuries on the man indicating a bear encounter, Fish and Game spokesman Patrick Foy said.
Foy said a district attorney's office could be asked to determine whether the man was considered to be trafficking in bear parts, which is a felony in California.
Experts believe the 11-pound male and 13-pound female cubs are between five and six months old. They are reportedly in good health.
They will spend several months at an animal shelter in South Lake Tahoe before being released into the wild next winter while they are hibernating.