Bear family goes swimming
The three were doubtless looking for a little extra food and a little r&r before their extended r&r called hibernation, when they came lumbering down from the San Gabriel mountains early Thursday and made their way into the foothills city of Pasadena.
Besides eating out of a dumpster the bears were captured on video by the homeowner of one of two backyard pools they went swimming in. A dog ultimately chased the bears out of one yard, the L.A. Times reported it was a beagle who marshaled up the courage to confront them.
A spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Andrew Hughan, said it is not uncommon for bears to come down off the mountains into cities and towns but it is uncommon for them to take a dip in local pools.
The Times talked to homeowner Frank Brimecombe, who said he chased the cubs out of his pool but clearly they liked the lifestyle — they returned half an hour later. He decided to stay in the house until they were gone for good.
“I yelled at them and they were in no hurry to leave,” Brimecombe told the Times. “They were not afraid. I got them out of the yard, but they got separated and one was screaming and yelling for the other one and I got nervous. I didn’t know if the mother was around or if she’d left.”
Some might recall the harrowing scene from The Revenant when Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Hugh Glass, is attacked by a bear being protective of her cubs. The bear depicted in the film was a grizzly (or brown bear), bigger and more prone to attacking humans than a black bear.
But black bears do attack and kill humans, the last known instance of death by black bear in North America was in British Columbia in May of 2015 when Daniel O’Connor was killed while sleeping in the outdoors.
Since 1963 in North America there has been 41 fatal black bear attacks. Such attacks appear to be on the rise as humans and the creatures come more frequently in contact; during the decade of 2001 to 2010 there were 15 fatal black bear attacks, the most on record for any decade.
At last report, fish and wildlife officials and the Sheriff’s department were working on corralling the bear family and encouraging them to return to the wild. They’d had their swim and were reported heading in that direction in any case.
Sheriff’s department Sgt. Keith Gibbons said “it is kind of a regular thing” to have the bears come out of the wild to find garbage at this time of year. Hibernation usually begins in December and they emerge, hungry again, in April.