Black bears were apparently pretty busy today. Two of them showed up in residential neighborhoods in the LA area today – one in Camarillo, the other just south of the Angeles National Forest in La Verne.

Both bears were tranquilized and returned to the wild without incident, but Zach at the LAist did some legwork and called the California Department of Fish and Game, who said due to our ongoing drought conditions, this may be the “Year of the Bear.” These furry hulks usually have enough resources in the San Gabriels, but may make more frequent trips to your front lawn sprinklers this summer.

As far as bears go, our local Black Bears are generally more docile and less aggressive than grizzlies, but it’s always a good idea to know the basics of bear safety — try to make noise when you’re hiking so you won’t sneak up on a bear, don’t sleep with food in your tent, use bear canisters whenever possible, and (this is the tough one) if a bear charges you, stand your ground and try to look big and make a lot of noise — black bears tend to feint rush to scare people away, but if you start running you might spark their predator instinct.

Read more on bear and mountain lion safety at the DFG web site. And if, like me, news like this occasionally freaks you out — remember that your chances of getting hurt by either of these guys in the mountains while hiking is very, very small. The Freeway is much more dangerous … but I’m guessing you probably already knew that.

black bear

Image by grizzbass

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