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Fourth bear found in L.A.-area neighborhood in less than two weeks

May 15, 2009 |  9:47 pm

Beware of bear

Urban bear fever continues in Greater L.A. as the fourth bear in less than two weeks has been spotted in a residential neighborhood.  

This latest incident, like the previous three, ended safely for all involved -- human and bear.  The 250-pound animal was first seen wandering in a Quartz Hills neighborhood in the Antelope Valley yesterday.  Our colleague Ann M. Simmons at the L.A. Now blog has the details:

A resident in the 4200 block of Mohave Rose Drive called deputies about 11:30 a.m. Thursday to report "a bear was running in her street," said Sgt. Theresa Dawson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

"It was on the sidewalks and in numerous backyards," said Ed Frommer, a longtime Quartz Hill resident and freelance cameraman, who happened to be driving near 47th Street West about 1:30 a.m. today when he noticed the commotion.

Sheriff's deputies chased the bear, Frommer said (he even managed to catch some of the action on video).  But the animal proved evasive and even seemed to be "playing hide and seek" with the law enforcement officers, he told L.A. Now.

The bear even climbed a 12-foot wall and entered the gated community it bordered, eventually climbing a tree.  Officers sprayed it with a hose in order to get it to leave the tree, but once back on solid ground it managed to evade the deputies again.

Shortly before 5 a.m. today, the bear was finally cornered at 45 Street West and M-4.  It was shot with a tranquilizer gun; when the sedative took effect, it was restrained and loaded onto a truck.  By 7 a.m. it had been released in the Angeles National Forest, and Department of Fish and Game officials planned to monitor it for a few hours to make sure it had recovered adequately from the tranquilizer.

Last Wednesday, two bears were found in separate residential Southland neighborhoods, one in Camarillo and one in La Verne.  Both were tranquilized and released.  Earlier this week, a third bear was spotted in the San Gabriel Valley, but it returned to a wilderness area of its own volition.

The best way to avoid contact with wild bears, according to the Department of Fish and Game, is to keep anything they might see as a tasty snack (including garbage and pet food) stored in bear-proof containers or otherwise out of their reach.  The department's website offers these tips for keeping bears at a safe distance (and also a few hints on what to do should you accidentally encounter one).

--Lindsay Barnett

Photo: A road sign warns park visitors of bears in Big Bend National Park, Texas.  Credit: Eric Gay / Associated Press.

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