Don’t Let Bears Be Bad News — Deny Them Food

First published in the Oct. 16 print issue of the Glendale News Press.

Signs displaying the simple message “Do not feed the animals” are prominent in zoos, aquariums and national parks, and for good reason. First and foremost, feeding wildlife is against the law, and second, following such directions can help keep animals away from urban areas.
With an uptick in bear sightings and encounters being reported in northern Glendale neighborhoods, California Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Rebecca Barboza informed residents about the furry visitors and how to minimize the chances of interacting with them.
Continue reading “Don’t Let Bears Be Bad News — Deny Them Food”

Don’t Let Bears Be Bad News — Deny Them Food

First published in the Oct. 14 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

Signs displaying the simple message “Do not feed the animals” are prominent in zoos, aquariums and national parks, and for good reason. First and foremost, feeding wildlife is against the law, and second, following such directions can help keep animals away from urban areas.
With an uptick in bear sightings and encounters in La Cañada Flintridge, city staff members welcomed Rebecca Barbosa — a wildlife biologist who has worked for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for 20 years — and hosted a virtual presentation Tuesday to inform residents about the furry visitors and how to minimize the chances of interacting with them.
Continue reading “Don’t Let Bears Be Bad News — Deny Them Food”

If Cupboard’s Bare, You Might Blame the Bear

First published in the Oct. 7 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun. By Camila Castellanos and Oscar Areliz.

A La Cañada Flintridge resident of the 500 block in Paulette Place experienced a break-in by an unusual visitor on Monday.
After hearing dishes fall in the kitchen, the homeowner went downstairs and discovered a bear there. The resident immediately left the house with a dog and called the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station at approximately 1:17 p.m.
According to Sgt. John Gilbert, the bear entered the home by clawing through a window screen, knocked over some small dishes and accessed the pantry to eat sugar. Deputies who arrived at the scene were able to scare the bear out of the house and it returned to the forest.
The bear sighting (and then some, in this case) is one of several that have occurred in LCF recently. Though the sheriff’s station did not specify how many have occurred, Gilbert told the Outlook Valley Sun that there have been numerous calls recently about bears here and in surrounding cities.
Local residents, meanwhile, have been tracking the active bears and posting photos to social media throughout the year. Particular concern was expressed over the summer when a bear was hit by a car on Haskell Street, leaving it with an injured back leg. Some speculated that the incident was an intentional hit and run.
After calling the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, one resident was told that the agency does not rehabilitate adult bears but that it will come out to euthanize the animal if it is in obvious physical distress.
“Apparently the bear was hit by a truck that people said aimed right for it and never slowed down,” said Mack Dugger, an avid supporter of Big Bear Alpine Zoo, to which he reached out about a potential rescue. “For someone to hit a bear, maybe on purpose … one can only hope they damaged their truck.”
The bear was seen hiding under cars and in bushes, and hobbling on three legs for several weeks: “He can’t do much on three legs, especially if he has to hunt and grouse,” Dugger added. “All the neighbors have called but the Forest Service has said the only thing they will do is come out and put him down. And we don’t want that.”
While the bears are typically frequent visitors to the homes bordering the Los Angeles Forest, the animals have begun frequenting more residential neighborhoods as they widen their search for food and water.
Carrie Smith, who lives on Daleridge Road, had never heard of one in her neighborhood before a large black bear climbed the tall pine outside her balcony. It stayed there the entire day, prompting Smith and a few neighbors to become concerned that it might be stuck.
“That was a weird, interesting day,” Smith laughed. “It kept going higher and higher and made no signs of coming down. There was quite a big response from the fire and police department.”
One bear that has a green tag with the number 162 has been repeatedly witnessed bathing in local pools and fountains, as well as tipping over trash cans, prompting some residents to reflect with concern on the old adage “a fed bear is a dead bear.”
Kathryn Leonard, who lives off of Alta Canyada, has repeatedly seen bear 162, including twice at her screen door.
“I tried to shoo him away, but he didn’t seem too concerned about me. … Next time I’m told to bang some pots and pans,” she said, noting that at least three bears have visited her cul-de-sac since summer.
Most recently, the bears have been stealing pumpkins off porches, including Leonard’s, which she found torn into pieces since they only eat the inside.
“I’m changing my way of life and being more cautious to live with the bears,” she said, explaining that she was keeping her trash containers in her garage and completely closing her door, although she prefers to let in the fresh air through the screen.
Officials have recommended that residents request bear-proof trash containers via their waste collection company.
The city recently announced that Fish and Wildlife will give a presentation on human-bear interactions on Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 6 p.m. via Zoom. The presentation will be simulcast by Spectrum on Channel 3 (East) and Channel 16 (West) and will include topics such as how to respond and prevent human-bear conflicts.
For more information about the online event, visit cityoflcf.org or contact Christina Nguyen at cnguyen@lcf.ca.gov.

Bear Makes Himself at Home in LCF, Eventually is Evicted

Photo courtesy Anjum Khan
Before he was tranquilized and relocated back into Angeles National Forest on Sunday, the bear was spotted hanging out near La Cañada Flintridge Country Club.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife responded to repeated reports of a bear in La Cañada Flintridge over the weekend, tranquilizing the 225-pound male Sunday afternoon and returning it to the wild, according to Andrew Hughan, a Fish and Wildlife spokesman.
There have been additional sightings reported since on social media, but the animal LCF resident Anjum Khan spotted in front of a house near the corner of Starlight Crest Drive and Burning Tree Drive as she was driving home Friday was relocated. At first, she said, the bear was digging through the trash, but then he seemed to just sit down and relax, she said.
“At one point, half of him was inside the trash can, and his other [rear] side was hanging out,” said Khan, who stopped to take some photos. “Then he was just sitting down, enjoying his lunch.” Continue reading “Bear Makes Himself at Home in LCF, Eventually is Evicted”

LCF Seeing More Mountain Lions

Screenshot courtesy Dennis Flower
A mountain lion was caught on camera in Dennis Flower’s backyard on two nights last week; he said he’s concerned about the animal’s presence with children walking to Paradise Canyon Elementary School near his Crown Avenue home.

La Cañada Flintridge resident Dennis Flower said he feels less relaxed in his own backyard since a mountain lion made a cameo a couple of times on his home security video footage last week.
“I have adjusted my seating position so I can see the extent of the yard,” said Flower, who had never before seen evidence of mountain lions on his property in the 30 years he’s lived in La Cañada Flintridge.
He also didn’t have a surveillance camera set up until six months ago, he said, so it’s difficult to know whether he’s previously been visited by cats like the one recorded slinking around his property in the 5000 block of Crown Avenue at 6:30 a.m. on Monday, March 26, and then again at about 3 a.m. on Wednesday, March 28. Continue reading “LCF Seeing More Mountain Lions”

Bear in Tree Captures Local Attention

A bear spotted on the streets of La Cañada Flintridge wound up in a tree on Jarvis Avenue for several hours Wednesday, and was still there as of press time.
At 4:30 p.m., the official Twitter account of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife reported: “[Helicopters] left and she almost came down. [Helicopters] came back and bear settled down. Still in the tree. Long night ahead.” Continue reading “Bear in Tree Captures Local Attention”