Friday, October 2, 2009

Bear Sightings -- Bear Swimming in Upper Hastings Ranch

The Star News reports today that a bear raided some trash cans and then strolled through an Upper Hastings Ranch neighborhood apparently chased by Animal Control officers. No pictures, but the story says the bear stopped periodically to swim in some backyard pools.

Here's the part of the story I didn't like: "Had the bear damaged property, the law would have required that it be destroyed, California Department of Fish and Game spokesman Harry Morse said."

It is hard to know what has gone on before with bears in this neighborhood, but the state response seems a little heavy handed and premature. For the most part, I think folks who live near the mountain's edge welcome sightings of wildlife and take responsibility for themselves and their property. That seems right to me. There are many things you can do to deter wildlife from getting into your trash for instance.

But, is it really that stark for the state authorities. You call them and if there's any property damage -- bang the bear's gone? Isn't there something else they can do? I would think a little more measured response is in order from the state authorities. There must be some reasonable alternatives that have not been explored.


This summer we've seen an increase in wildlife activity in NE Pas neighborhoods. I think the increase started even before the fires. The Station Fire burned a lot of wildlife habitat and presumably either killed many wild animals or forced them into unburned areas of the mountains. Since the unburned areas are closest to neighborhoods, it will be interesting to see whether we see even more bears and other wildlife in our NE Pas neighborhoods.


altadenahiker said...

Deeply disturbing. We live in the hillside, not Park LaBrea. We live in the hillside and we should take the responsibility for any reasonable risk that implies. I have crossed paths with bear, bobcats, and of course, coyotes. That is the joy of living up here.

Bellis said...

Thank you for writing about this. I was very upset when I saw the report in the Star-News. What constitutes "property damage?" Are they going to shoot a bear if it breaks the stem of a small tree it's climbed, or dents a trash can? These peaceful animals are just looking for food and water - surely we can share the water we've taken from the mountains and the food we grow on land that was once part of the mountains with them? I met a bear on a hike once - it was a magical moment. Once we'd taken stock of one another, the terrified bear ran away.

Cafe Observer said...

Who wrote this law in their infamous wisdom? Let's pray he/she is not in Congress now, helping to create a health care law...

Michael Coppess said...

Hiker and Bellis: I wholeheartedly concur!
CO: Wisdom does seem in short supply in the halls of power.

I suppose a lesson in this is to avoid calling the authorities.

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