Recently, members of our community have been discussing on social media, the issue of wildlife, in particular bears, wandering into the residential neighborhoods in the north end of Azusa. There are two sides to this discussion; one which believes in “befriending” the bears and the other believing the bears need to be relocated back into the wilderness.
As the law enforcement agency responsible for responding to bear calls in the city of Azusa, we would like to educate the community about living with wildlife. This is even more important, as we are a community which backs up to the mountains.
First and foremost, please call the Azusa Police Department any time you see a bear wandering through the neighborhood. Our department will send officers to the area to evaluate the situation, and if needed, obtain assistance from the Los Angeles County Animal Control or the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The department’s mission is to ensure the community is safe, as well as caring for the safety of the bear.
Leaving food for a bear or attempting to lure a bear onto your property with the intention of “helping” the bear’s life is not only dangerous to yourself and your neighbors, but dangerous for the bear as well. Consider the idea that a mother bear can teach her young that it’s okay to go into the residential neighborhood for food, only to have those cubs succumb to a possible negative outcome.
In response to this issue, the department’s social media team reached out to our friend, Stephanie Arne. Some of you might remember the television show, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom? Well, Stephanie is the host and “Wild Guide” for the online version of the show, which you can learn more about at wild wildkingdom.com.
“Bears are incredibly opportunistic omnivores with an amazing sense of smell that’s up to 2,100x better than ours. When people leave food and trash cans out in the open, it’s like ringing a dinner bell for a free buffet. Only when the bear returns to their new favorite buffet spot, it puts the bear, their cubs, and humans in the community in danger of an unexpected encounter. Far too often this leads to the death of the bears that were only coming in for free food. Living alongside wilderness in Azusa is an amazing opportunity, so please be “bear aware” and do what’s best for the wildlife and your community.”
As you can see, the issue of bears wandering or being lured into the neighborhood, whether intentionally or un-intentionally, is a serious issue for all involved.
Simply remember - remain indoors when you see a bear, and call the Azusa Police Department. Keep your trash cans sealed and preferably, inside the garage.
If you would like further information about living with the wildlife in Azusa, click here.