By Mary O’KEEFE
Bears are part of living in the foothills. The return of Meatball, the bear that was tranquilized and relocated 100 miles away from Crescenta Valley in April, has once again highlighted the fact that bears are simply part of living in Crescenta Valley. And as the meatball loving bear has shown with his April visit to Mayfield Avenue, it is not just residents living at the base of the Angeles National Forest that need to be Bear Smart.
Click on the “colorbook” below for a PDF copy of a Bear Safe colorbook for kids from the Department of Fish and Game.
Here are some tips from the California Department of Fish and Game:
Black bears are generally more docile and non- confrontational than grizzly bears, which no longer exist in California. If you encounter a black bear, give it plenty of room to pass by. Most black bears will try to avoid confrontation when given a chance.
Do not run because you cannot outrun a bear. While they may seem clumsy, bears are surprisingly fast sprinters, reaching speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. Instead, stand and face the animal. Pick up small children so that they don’t panic and run. Give the bear room so that it can avoid you.
If you encounter a bear cub, do not pick it up! You run the risk of being attacked by a protective mother bear. If you think the cub is abandoned, contact the DFG. Orphaned cubs can be captured, rehabilitated and released, but only by organizations with specific authorization. People who pick up bear cubs without authorization may be cited.
Don’t let it see you as an easy target. Make yourself appear larger – stand up, raise your arms and open your jacket. Yell at the bear, bang pots and pans or whatever objects you have with you, and create a general commotion.
And more tips from www.bearinfosite.com
DO NOT RUN.
This may stimulate a bear’s instinct to chase and attack.
IF THE BEAR HAS NOT SEEN YOU,
stay calm, and back away slowly and give the bear room to escape. Talk out loud to make sure the bear is aware of your presence.
IF THE BEAR HAS SEEN YOU,
back away slowly while facing the bear. If you have small children with you, pick them up so that they don’t run or panic. Give the bear plenty of room to escape.
TRY TO SHOW THE BEAR
that you may be a danger to it. Make yourself appear larger, stand tall, open a jacket or shirt, yell, bang pots or pans, make a general commotion.
FIGHT BACK IF A BEAR ATTACKS YOU.
Use rocks, sticks, binoculars, cameras or any object that is available.
REPORT AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR IMMEDIATELY.
Call your local Department of Fish and Game Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. After hours call the local police or sheriff’s office and ask to be put in contact with the local Department of Fish and Game.
BEARS SEEN WHEN HIKING OR CAMPING
Bears normally leave an area once they’ve sensed a human. If you see a bear, enjoy it from a distance. Aggression by bears towards humans is exceptionally rare.
DO make your presence known by making noise and waving your arms if you see a bear while hiking.
DO keep dogs on a leash and under control. A roaming dog might be perceived as a threat to a bear or its cubs.
DO walk away slowly if you surprise a bear nearby.
DON’T cook food near your tent or store food inside your tent. Instead, keep food in a secure vehicle or use rope to suspend it between two trees.
DON’T climb a tree, but wait in a vehicle or building for the bear to leave an area.