The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reminding residents across the state to be bear aware.
Over the last few months, several bears have been observed in and near residential areas, including areas where they have not been present for many decades.
While bear activity is common this time of year, wildlife management staff say it is possible that a healthy population and a dry winter may be attracting bears to urban environments earlier than normal. Bears are more commonly found in residential areas toward the end of summer or right before hibernation in the fall months.
“The thriving population, coupled with a dry spring could be playing a role in the uptick of activity. We want to encourage residents who live in areas near bear habitat to be extra diligent securing their trash and bear-proofing their homes,” said CDFW state bear program coordinator, Marc Kenyon. “We want Californians to enjoy bears. However, we don’t want bears to become reliant on food intentionally or otherwise provided by people.”
California has one species of bear-- the black bear. With more than 30,000 bears in California, it is not surprising that during the summer months CDFW offices receive many calls about bears rummaging through trash bins, raiding campsites or making their way into residential areas.
CDFW recommends the following tips for businesses, campers and homeowners:
Purchase and properly use a bear-proof garbage container.
Wait to put trash out until the morning of collection day.
Don’t leave trash, groceries, or animal feed in your car.
Keep garbage cans clean and deodorize them with bleach or ammonia.
Keep barbecue grills clean and stored in a garage or shed when not in use.
Don’t leave any scented products outside, even non-food items such as suntan lotion, insect repellent, soap or candles.
Keep doors and windows closed and locked.
Harvest fruit off trees as soon as it is ripe, and promptly collect fruit that falls.
For more information, visit: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/keepmewild/bear.html