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Black bear is freed from Porter Ranch tree

May 26, 2010 |  2:24 pm

Bear It's black bear-sighting fever once again in Southern California.

Fire, police and Fish and Game officials found themselves with a problem on their hands Wednesday morning: a 90- to 150-pound black bear that had become stuck in a Porter Ranch pine tree about 15 feet above the ground.

"We are sending more units out there with a rescue cushion in the event the bear falls," Los Angeles Fire Department spokesperson Erik Scott told our sister blog L.A. Now of the effort to free the animal. That cushion certainly came in handy later in the morning when the wayward bear fell from the tree after being tranquilized. It is reportedly safe and is being cared for by wildlife officials until the effects of the tranquilizer wear off.

Tuesday evening, another black bear -- this one with three cubs in tow -- were spotted by residents of a San Dimas neighborhood. In early May, another black bear was tranquilized after climbing a tree in a residential Oxnard neighborhood and was later released in a wilderness area.

Black bears are more commonly found in California areas north of L.A. and Ventura counties. In some parts of California, bear hunting is legal; a Fish and Game Department proposal advanced earlier this year could have expanded bear hunting in the state, but the idea was later withdrawn.

That Fish and Game proposal would have expanded bear hunting in Lassen and Modoc counties and allowed bear hunting for the first time in San Luis Obispo County, but after receiving a large amount of negative feedback from the public, it was recalled. Department officials had also toyed with eliminating a cap on the number of bears killed per season and allowing hunters to place GPS tracking devices on their hunting dogs' collars, but neither idea moved forward.

RELATED BEAR NEWS:
Biologists worry that new law permitting guns in national parks could mean trouble for grizzly bears
Alaska man who starred in Animal Planet show pleads guilty to feeding bears

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Black bear falls out of a tree after being tranquilized Wednesday. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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