Foothill residents flocked to the Thursday night to after increased bear sightings in the area, including a recent incident when a .
“I live by and have encountered mountain lions and rattlesnakes but never a bear,” said longtime La Cañada resident Mark Goddard. “I came out here tonight to learn what I should do if and when that happens.”
An estimated 40,000 black bears live in California. With the last bear sighting on May 14 at the intersection of Pine Cone Road and Pinelawn Drive in La Crescenta, many attendees wanted tips on how to prevent bears from venturing into the foothills.
Lieutenant Marty Wall of the California Department of Fish and Game shared several precautionary tips for bear-proofing your home.
“Prevention is the key. You need to stop the reason the bears are venturing down,” said Wall. “You need to make you house less desirable than your neighbor’s house. The bear will always take the easiest path in life.”
Wall strongly advised that bear conflict is largely the result of human behavior. In order to lessen you chance of conflict, follow these simple guidelines:
- Spray ammonia on your trash. Bears will be turned off by the smell.
- Don’t take your trash out until the morning of trash day. “When you’re making the personal decision to take it out in the morning as opposed to night that gives you an extra 12 hours where a bear is not going to come,” Assemblyman Portantino said at the meeting.
- Install motion sensor lights on your property.
- If you encounter a bear while it is eating, let the bear finish its meal. Back off and evaluate what the bear is doing.
- Never approach a bear. If you see a bear keep your distance and take pictures from afar.
- Keep all pet food inside.
- If you have fruit trees, be sure to pick up any fruit that has fallen.
- If you contact a bear, make eye contact without staring.
- If a bear seems aggressive or harms anyone, immediately call 911.
Altadena Town Council chair Gino Sund mentioned Tuesday that the council had made the request of Portantino's office to hold the forum after hearing of bear sightings in Altadena.
Residents in Altadena, where backyard chickens are allowed, should be cautious about making sure the animals are secured.
Altadena residents with bear concerns will also be able to request special bear-proof garbage cans under the new that is starting in September.
For more information on bear safety, visit the California Department of Fish and Game website.