Animal rescuers who pulled “Heavenly,” a one-year old black bear, out from his settled spot near a ski lift in Lake Tahoe did not expect they’d be seeing the little bear so soon after his release. However, only a few days after Heavenly was released back into the wild he was spotted sauntering back to the lodge, perhaps for another cup of hot cocoa.

While Heavenly only spent a few month at the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Center, it was long enough for the young and apparently impressionable bear to become dependent on the help of humans to survive. The initial reaction of wildlife officials was to collect Heavenly and release him back into the woods, further in this time, but it became clear that the bear would not be able to survive on his own in the wild.

In a statement to Associated Press the spokesman for the Nevada Department of Wildlife, Chris Healy described Heavenly’s inability to return to the wild as “a disaster for this magnificent animal.” Healy went on to explain that he feels, “wild animals should not be in cage their whole life,” a sentiment that we could not agree with more.

If Heavenly cannot return to the wild, the only other options for him are euthanasia, or life in a zoo or animal sanctuary. The most tragic part about this young bear’s story is the fact that humans are responsible for his domestication. By improperly handling garbage and leaving food scraps everywhere near the ski-resort, humans are creating animals that are dependent on them for survival.

Since we got Heavenly into this mess, it is our responsibility to get him out! Condemning Heavenly to life in a zoo would just make matters worse, click here to contact the Nevada Department of Wildlife and urge them to find a safe, humane home for Heavenly in an animal sanctuary. If Heavenly can’t be wild. he should at least be allowed his dignity and space outside of a cage.

Image source: Tom Lotshaw via Tahoe Daily Tribune