It may not have reached the point of bears honing in on picnic baskets and pies cooling on window sills, but the scarcity of food in recent days due to triple digit temps drying up grass and vegetation has put bears on the move in Stevenson Ranch.
On Wednesday, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station posted on its Facebook page a night time photo of a black bear moving into a backyard in Stevenson Ranch.
“Recently in the (SCV) area, foods are diminishing,” Christ Stoots, spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, told The Signal Wednesday.
“With several weeks of warmer weather, grass and natural vegetation are drying up, making the bear push closer to communities,” he said.
SCV residents enjoy life inside a Rim around the valley of green where wildlife thrives.
Spotting a bear in the Santa Clarita Valley, according to the sheriff, is not a cause for concern.
Local sheriff officials advise: “If a bear causes damage to your home or property, contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Regional Office at (562) 598-1032.”
If a bear attacks a person, however, authorities want you to call 9-1-1 immediately.
The recent bear sighting comes on the heels of two other sightings of a black bear in the SCV in the past month.
Shortly after 9:40 p.m. June 8 a video was posted online showing a black bear running along a fence in Valencia on The Old Road near Henry Mayo Drive. The video was posted on the sheriff’s Facebook page.
On that day, deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station were dispatched to the area where they spotted the bear running along a fence by the side of the road.
“Apparently, the deputies went out there and chased the bear back into the wilderness area,” Lt. Doug Mohrhoff told The Signal the day after the encounter.
The bear was last seen in the area of the Higher Vision Church on The Old Road near Henry Mayo Drive.
It was the second call deputies received word of a bear sighting.
Earlier in the day, around 5 p.m., officers with the California Highway Patrol reported a black bear seen near Interstate 5 and Highway 138, near Gorman.
If you find a bear in your backyard, the advice offered by Fish & Wildlife worker Chris Stoots is: “avoid, avoid, avoid.”
Advice posted on the Fish & Wildlife website says: “Slowly back away. Do not approach the bear. Allow the bear plenty of room to pass or withdraw. Once you are a safe distance away, encourage the bear to leave by banging pots and pans or making other loud noises.”
Spotting bears in the SCV is not unusual, Andrew Hughan, spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife at the time of the bear sightings in June.
“It’s not uncommon really, this little guy was out looking into trash cans and looking for a snack,” Hughan said about the bear.
“There are bears in SCV and they will almost always leave people alone but I do want to remind people that these are wild animal and, especially, if a young one is around it’s mother is usually not far away and would be very unhappy to see a person near her young,” he said.
And, as a last bit of advice, Hughan issued a warning: “Don’t ‘help’ or feed wildlife, ever.”
TIPS TO HOMEOWNERS
His advice to SCV homeowners:
– Use a bear-proof trash container or 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.
– Avoid using bird feeders. They are a powerful attractant
– Keep barbecue grills clean and keep pet food inside.
– Don’t leave any scented products outside, even non- food items such as suntan lotion, insect repellent, soap or candles.
When wild animals are allowed to feed on human food and garbage, they lose their natural ways – often resulting in death for the animal.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt