A bear roaming in a residential area of Sierra Madre on Tuesday has been safely caught after a week that included two bear sightings in residential and business areas amid rising numbers of such encounters, authorities said.
The female young adult bear was spotted in a front yard on Montecito Avenue, according to California Department of Fish and Wildlife public information officer Tim Daly.
The bear was one of several to be spotted in Sierra Madre in recent days, prompting a community meeting on Sept. 16 after some residents had close encounters with the animals as they forged for food near the city’s downtown area and adjacent neighborhoods.
Last week, a bear found its way into a home on South Hermosa Avenue and treated itself to some mangoes. The homeowners called 9-1-1, and the bear left on its own after authorities responded.
The following day, a mama bear and her two cubs ambled through the town’s restaurant district at lunchtime, forcing folks inside at some of the local restaurants. Law enforcement responded forcing the family away.
But the sightings, while not a surprise in a foothill community accustomed to wildlife in the nearby San Gabriel Mountains, were part of a larger spike.
In 2022, the city of Sierra Madre was notified of 130 bear encounters. This year, the city has already tracked 303 such sightings.
Officials have noted that this particular kind of bear — the black bear – is not particularly aggressive toward humans. They are after food. But authorities have also warned that if they feel threatened, they will defend themselves.
In 2020, a Sierra Madre woman struck a bear with her laptop after she was attacked and bitten while sleeping in her backyard.
CDFW has been closely monitoring bear activity, and was coincidentally in the area on Tuesday when the Sierra Madre Police Department called about the bear, Daly said.
A team of biologists, with the help of the police department and the humane society, decided to dart the bear so it could be safely removed.
Once the bear had been darted, it was loaded onto a truck, and will be taken to a new habitat in Angeles National Forest away from people. The bear will also be given an ear tag and a GPS collar so that CDFW can monitor its movements.
There were no reports of injuries.
In April, the Sierra Madre City Council adopted a resolution declaring urbanized bears a threat to public safety.