Tourists shocked as bear and two cubs play in sea at beach
Holidaymakers in California got a surprise when a family of bears emerged from the forest to play in the sea.
The mother and two cubs were seen frolicking at Pope Beach in Lake Tahoe in a beautiful but rather unusual scene, surrounded by human tourists.
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A couple of locals say it's not the first time they've seen the family, but that it was unusual for them to emerge at such a busy time.
According to KTVN, John Buis and Abbigale Forsman, who work for Kayak Tahoe, have seen them before. John said: "She just kind of moseys down with her cubs and they go for a little swim and play in the lake. It's really neat to watch.
"It was really neat to see them actually down by the water just hanging out with people. They were kind of in their own zone though. So it was one of those things where you ask people to keep their distance."
A couple of videos shows the mother and cubs splashing around and playing in the shallows.
Another shows them wandering peacefully back into the forest (after a little sniff around) following their sea frolics.
According to Global News, one onlooker said: "I can't believe this. They are so cute."
However, while the scene is undoubtedly heartwarming, officials said it was a also a "red flag" that bears were getting acclimatised to humans, and that the situation could turn dangerous.
Doug Howard, Operations Manager of Tahoe Recreation, said the heat of summer could have been why the three bears wandering to the beach.
Speaking to KTVN, he said: "They're looking for water. It's getting drier up in the mountains and it's their natural habitat. So, they want to go down to the beach, swim, cool off."
He added that they could also have been looking for an easy feed from people's picnics and cooler boxes.
Mr Howard added that as soon as the bears came down for their 30-minute play in the water, staff "immediately came down and tried to keep the people away. So the bears, when they came out of the water, they could head back up into the hills".