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.