California wildlife officials maintain black bears do not represent a threat to public safety. This comes after a Sierra Madre man was hospitalized this week when he tried to protect his dog from a black bear cub in his back yard. Peter Tira with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says black bears want nothing to do with people and do a great job of avoiding human interaction.
"They are not aggressive at all. They're very skittish, very fearful of people," said Tira. "They very, very rarely represent any kind of public safety to people or even pets."
Black bears are spread throughout the entire state and are the only species of bear in California. Despite their name, they're not always black, they can also be brown, blonde, or cinnamon colored. He noted that they are the least aggressive of all the bears and with 40 million people in the state, there are going to be lots of bear sightings. He also said when you do see a bear, you should call police. They can arrange to have the bear moved back to the wild.
Tira pointed out that black bears do not intentionally enter city limits.
"What often happens is they take a wrong turn, get lost somewhere they're not supposed to be, which can be somebody's backyard or in town or some place like that and sometimes get in trouble."
Tira said there has been more bear sightings in urban areas but that's not really unusual at this time of the year, as they're looking for food and mates.