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Humans, Bears and the Foothills: Here's What to Do

It's hot and bears want to cool off too, so if you live in the foothills, there's a chance one may make a splash in your backyard pool. Officials from the California Department of Fish and Game offer the following tips.

Black Bears have roamed the San Gabriel Mountains since 1933, back when a group of 11 bears, dubbed troublemakers, were banished to the Angeles National Forest from Yosemite National Park, according to a press release from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.

People moved in and the bears delved deeper into the forest - but they do trundle down the mountain when they're hungry and hot. On Monday two bears romped around in the area-- and one in Duarte .

In fact, encounters with black bears have been numerous during the past 15 years. Foothill neighborhoods are especially apt to have bear visitors during summer and fall months, particularly when it is dry and hot. Eating from fruit trees and drinking from and swimming in pools, spas and ponds are activities which will most likely increase if the bear populations continue to increase.

Bear Facts, Courtesy of the Department of Fish & Game: 

• It is always wise to give a bear as much room as you possibly can. If you see a bear in a residential community, leave the area and call 9-1-1. 

• Bears don't want to play, they just want humans to go away. 

• Gatherings of people watching the bears, smelling like humans and making noises scare the bears. Once scared, they just want to go home to the forest. You can help them by going home too. 

• Bears are wild animals and unpredictable. 

• Mama bears are especially protective of their cubs. 

 Stash Your Food and Trash

Bears and other animals are attracted to anything edible or smelly. So, store garbage in bear-proof containers, or store garbage in your garage until pick-up. 

• Keep food indoors or in airtight and odor-free containers. 

• Put away picnic leftovers; clean BBQ grills. 

• Keep pet food inside, and bird feeders away. 

• Pick up fallen tree fruit as soon as possible, or protect fruit trees with electric fencing. 

When You're Camping, You're on Their Turf

• Keep a close watch on children, and teach them what to do if they encounter a bear. 

• While hiking, make noise to avoid a surprise encounter with a bear. 

• Never keep food in your tent. 

• Store food and toiletries in bear-proof containers or in an airtight container in the trunk of your vehicle. 

• Keep a clean camp by cleaning up and storing food and garbage immediately after meals.

• Use bear-proof garbage cans whenever possible or store your garbage in a secure location with your food. 

• Never approach a bear or pick up a bear cub. 

• If you encounter a bear, do not run; instead, face the animal, make noise and try to appear as large as possible. 

• If a bear attacks a person, immediately call 911. 

• When wild animals are allowed to feed on human food and garbage, they lose their natural ways – often resulting in death for the animal. 

For more inormation about how to interact - or not - with wild life, you may 
subscribe to DFG News via e-mail or RSS feed. Go to http://www.dfg.ca.gov/news

Chris Ziegler July 11, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Seriously, Call 911???? How about the Marine Corps? No. Better yet, SEAL Team 6 and put Delta Force on hot standby. Could we be more uninformed, ridiculous and paranoid? It scares me that so many in our community don't have a handle on this issue by now - how are we going to handle the complex challenges just around the corner if we can't handle the simple stuff? If you have a problem with bears in your trash, secure your food waste in a locked container until just before trash pick-up. It's that simple. We already have an ordinance that requires the same so if someone is having a tough time with the learning curve perhaps a fiscal incentive will help. If you have a bear-in-our-pool problem and you can't tolerate it and yelling at the bear to leave doesn't work, then buy some pepper spray from REI (learn how to use it first, read the instructions or you will be very sorry) and give him/her a squirt. If all you do is call 911 the bear will learn that he/she needs to beat feet when they hear the vehicle with the V-8 engine arriving. If a black bear attacks you fight for your life (same as mountain lion) as you are being preyed upon (Grizzlies are an entirely differnet story and not relevant to Monrovia) If you survive, go by a lottery ticket as you just experienced odds that are more rare than being struck by lightening.
Gayle M. Montgomery July 11, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Donna thanks for the great article. It includes a lot of common-sense tips, and I didn't know that's how we got our bears. I wonder what their population counts have done through time. Seems their only natural predators are us. It bears noting (pardon the pun), that we live in their area. We've got to learn to cohibernate, er cohabitate.
Gayle M. Montgomery July 11, 2012 at 10:16 PM
So it just dawned on me who all those bears are! They must be descendants of "Elmer"! Ever been camping at Yosemite back when about the time of the Firefalls? Just as they got ready to light the falls, the park would resonate with voices from all over calling out for El-Mer. There are at least 2 versions as to how that started. One said it was a frantic mom looking for her child who disappeared at the time of lighting, and it took off. The other version says that Elmer was a big bear. No wonder they're calling Elmer. He got moved to the San Gabriel Mountains. El-Mer! http://firefall.info/readers.html

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