Another California Bear crashes a pool party

I had every intention of telling you more about my wildlife “home invasion” incident, follow-up from my last post. But not tonight. It was a busy day with triple digit heat, and I don’t have what it takes to compile my photos.

And anyway, another story caught my attention today.

I’ve previously written about the California bear population HERE, but I’ve since learned a bit more.

The black bears that roam the San Gabriel Mountain foothills are all descendants of 11 bears “asked to leave” Yosemite in 1933. Apparently they were designated as troublemakers in the National Park. And mischief was noted today in one of those offspring.

Today’s bear encounter produced some amusing video footage.

La Cañada Flintridge, a beautiful and affluent city in Los Angeles County and home to Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL),  is frequently visited by bears wandering into the neighborhoods.

Three residents lounging poolside were startled and frightened when a Black Bear walked right through their yard. Pools and spas are open invitations to the bears, and with current high temperatures, residents have been told to expect more wildlife coming out of the foothills looking for food and water–and maybe a little cooling dip in the pools!

To see the residents’ reaction and catch a little glimpse of the story in video, click HERE and have your own peek at how close to the “wild” Los Angeles is–sometimes it’s surprising even to me. Don’t miss the reporter’s exaggeration of the situation as he mentions the residents “running for their lives.”

A neighborhood school was put on lockdown and residents were told to stay indoors–which, of course, they didn’t. Cell phone photos were circulating as California Fish and Game authorities cautiously circled the bear to tranquillize and relocate back into the wild.

I’ve also included a video generated by the California Fish and Game with excellent information about the biology and natural history of the California Black Bear. It’s a longer video and I know not everyone can access it, but I include it for those who are interested.

This week I’m submitting my application to the National Wildlife Federation to be designated a Certified Wildlife Habitat home, but I don’t think we’ll be seeing any bears in our backyard.

I’m really pleased to know the bears are close, although I’m concerned for them if they are indeed struggling for food or water.  I’m not adventurous enough to share our home turf, however.

It’s going to be a long hot summer with a severe water shortage and I’m sure we’ll have many wildlife sightings in residential areas. I’ll be happy to pass on the stories as they come to my attention.

And I will still share my story of the unwanted animals who shared our home for a while in a day or two.

48 thoughts on “Another California Bear crashes a pool party

    • I’m so glad you took notice of the party guy and his noon cocktail. I just laughed and laughed at them. I’m sure they had no idea they were going to end up on the evening news! LOL!

  1. Hmmm, well…we don’t have bears here so I’ve never had to worry about bears. I do feel so sorry for them that their habitats are being minimalised and so they are mixing ever more frequently with residential areas xx

  2. I’m sure that would be quite the shock to see a bear in your backyard. We had a large owl yesterday, the first I’ve ever seen here in fifty years — the local blue jay population was not happy and tried to drive it away by squawking continuously.

    • Oh I would really love to have the owl, and forget the bear, Sharyn! Many years ago an owl lived in a tree next door. We never saw it, but we could hear it at night and it was just wonderful. I think that would be magnificent to just know they are close! It’s good to hear from you! :-)

    • I am afraid of an animals as large as a bear in my yard, BD, but I tend to be comfortable with the infrequent smaller visitors. I do feel very badly for the bears knowing how much of their natural habitat has been taken from them. I am very glad to know that it is illegal for anyone to harm the bears, so at this point the need is for cooperative living. :-)

    • That’s my feeling, too, Nancy. I’m growing quite impatient with the way homes are getting higher and higher into the foothills. It really doesn’t seem right to me. And if animals then come into the residential neighborhoods it seems to cause havoc. Some cities are putting limits on growth in the foothills, and that’s a good thing. :-) Occasionally mountain lion come into the neighborhoods, too, and that would really terrify me!

  3. I loved the news video. People did anything but stay inside. :)

    You know I’m terrified of bears. They wouldn’t have to tell me to stay locked up.

    Please let us know how your application progresses. There’s no way you won’t get the certification.

    • I don’t share your fear of bears, Andra, but at the same time, I am a rules follower. LOL! If authorities had told me to stay indoors, then that’s what I would do. I think the bears are becoming more and more comfortable around humans and I do wonder if at some point someone won’t forget these animals are wild, not domesticated!

  4. Thanks for sharing this. Can’t say we see many bears in Illinois, though we do see coyotes and cougars. I feel sorry for the bears, especially in the heat, but can’t say I’d want to meet one in my backyard. Glad to see no one was harmed. Good for you with your wildlife certification! Karen

    • The homes are built in what was once the bears’ habitat, so hopefully everyone can just learn to get along. :-) I am truly wondering how the summer is going to go for the bears, though. They’ve survived for a long time in drought conditions, but I think there are more people to contend with all the time, too. Thanks for the well wishes regarding the wildlife certification. I’m enjoying the planning and process!

    • I think the bears are really fascinating, CCU. THe homes are right up in the foothills, so in some ways they are building houses in the bears’ backyard. There are frequent encounters! It is rightly illegal to harm a bear, so instead the residents are typically instructed how to behave. I’m not sure that “running for their lives” was the best move, but it all turned out alright! :-)

  5. As much as I love and appreciate wildlife, Debra, I draw the line at bears walking across my back yard — not that I could do anything to stop one if it did. Like the swimmer in the video, I would be sure to take my cocktail with me as I exited. I just don’t think I’d mention it to the TV reporter. :)

    • I just had to share the video of the young guys and their little party with the bear, John. Those were noon cocktails–I had to wonder if the guys had possibly played hookey from work. If so, they definitely made the evening news, cocktail in hand. I love knowing the bears are so close, but I couldn’t be comfortable with them as to share space. Those particular neighborhoods also occasionally have wildcats, which would totally terrify me. Of course, we keep taking more of their habitat.

  6. Dear Debra, thanks for linking us to the news story as well as providing the video on bears. I learned so much by watching it. Once, while camping in the Smokies I met a bear. His snout was just a few inches from my elbow. I hope to post about this one day as the story is truly funny! Peace.

    • Oh dear, Dee. You must post about your personal bear encounter. That is MUCH too close for safety. You have been in more dangerous circumstances, my dear! :-) I do find the bears really interesting animals. I’m more and more interested in learning how they do survive during these drought conditions! It’s always nice to hear from you, my friend.

    • The poor bear had a nice little nap after a sedative, and I’m sure was fine. However, sometimes the same bears keep coming back. It’s just part of living in the beautiful foothills. Sometimes they come down even lower and get close to the highway. Fortunately that is very rare! :-)

  7. I heard you were in the middle of a heat wave. I never thought that it would impact the wildlife too. It only makes sense that the backyard pools would be a temptation for black bears. Here it is food … as in open garbage. Hope man and wildlife work it out and can co-exist. Looking forward to your post about your encounter with wildlife in your home! ~Thea

    • Hi Thea. The bears are really coming down looking for food and water and the garbage cans are definitely another source for them here, too! Occasionally, though, someone will find a bear just lounging in their pool or even hot tub. Poor guys. We keep taking more of their habitat and then get all crazy when they come into our yards. Of course, I’m personally keeping my distance! :-)

  8. Pretty funny, Debra, as long as it doesn’t happen to us! I imagine with the heat and drought expected, there will be more close encounters with wildlife. Did I read on another comment that there are also wildcats? I think that would frighten me more than the bears. I’m looking forward to more stories about all the natural inhabitants of your lovely southern California.

    • Yes, Penny, there are mountain lions in those hills, and occasionally joggers and hikers who get too far off the paths have had very dangerous encounters. And then, on occasion, they come out of the foothills and into neighborhoods. It’s rare, but it has happened. And I’m with you–much more afraid of the wildcats. Today’s news included a story of a coyote grabbing a dog being walked on a leash by a family! It’s just entirely too early for these animals to be so hungry and thirsty. I enjoy sharing with you, Penny! Thank you!

  9. Three digit heat in MAY, Debra? That doesn’t bode well for the summer. :-(

    Since the only bears I’ve ever seen in the flesh have been in zoos, I love your wildlife stories and videos.

    • I’m so glad you find the wildlife stories interesting, Perpetua, because I have to admit I’m really fascinated myself. I am intrigued with the way people keep moving their homes further and further up into “the wild” and then are shocked at animal encounters. I suspect there will be many stories this summer. Our heat has backed off a little bit from where it was last week. It’s hard to get dressed in the morning…I never know what’s coming. :-)

  10. Another great post, Debra. I actually was suppose to do a master study on bears – in a previous life it must have been. It was on the Norther European brown bear, though. Somehow I took a detour in life and ended up doing something completely different than biology. But I certainly like bears as you may guess. I have actually seen the black bear a couple of times further north in Washington.

    • I can’t tell you how curious I am about how you transitioned from a master study on the Northern European brown bear to other tracks in life! I am sure it’s been a very interesting journey. I didn’t realize until very recently that there are so many places where bears no longer live, and I think the more I learn about that fact the more I would like to do an informal study myself! This week we’ve had two more local bears come down out of the mountains, and one came into a family’s home and was having a great time in the kitchen! :-)

  11. I really enjoy stories about wildlife, so I’m going to add this to my list of favorites. Black bears and other critters give the term “urban wildlife” a whole new meaning. Thank you for liking my post!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the “bear at the pool party” story! This week there was a story of a local bear helping himself to someone’s breakfast IN THE HOUSE! The poor homeowner was trapped in the bathroom with the 9-1-1- operator. The bear was just hungry. :-) No one was harmed. That’s a whole up-close-and-personal I’m fine with avoiding. :-)

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