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After nap, mama bear, cubs in Altadena tree head into wilderness

May 3, 2012 | 10:39 pm

Black bear and her cubs in a tree in Altadena
A mama bear and her two cubs that spent most of Thursday lounging in a couple of trees in an Altadena neighborhood have scampered back into the wilderness, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said. 

The mother bear was rifling through a garbage can on Edgecliff Lane, eating leftover birthday cake, when an astonished resident picking up his morning newspaper saw the animal in his driveway. The frightened bears quickly clambered up an oak tree. They later took a morning nap.

Keith Miller, the resident who saw the black bear in the morning, said the animals are not uncommon in his neighborhood -- but he hadn't seen a mom with her cubs before.

PHOTOS: Mother bear and cubs up a tree

The bears spent the morning and midday in the tree, and the mama nursed her cubs.

"They slept in the trees and waited for mama to decide to come down, and they go where mama goes," Miller said. By about 2:30 p.m., "Mama decided she had enough of it up there and came down."

But she wasn't done with the neighborhood. The family of California black bears -- they're called black bears even though their fur is brown -- then went to Miller's next-door neighbor's house, bypassed a swimming pool and climbed another tree, but "didn't like it, jumped a fence, and they went into another neighborhood's yard. Laid in a tree for a while," Miller said. "And then they got down in a canyon area."

With four news helicopters hovering, the bears retreated into the wilderness about sunset through Eaton Canyon, where there's a path to get back into the San Gabriel Mountains, Miller said. Los Angeles television stations kept a close eye on the family throughout the day -- getting on the nerves of some residents and likely the bears' too, officials said.

Bears can be a problem in foothill cities. In the summer of 2009, the Monrovia Police Department dealt with more than 450 bear calls and was forced to log repeat offenders into a database with a photo and assigned number. Authorities began to consider killing them before the weather cooled and the bears faded back into the forest, according to a Times story in 2010.

And of course, it was just last month that Glen Bearian captivated Angelenos with his love for Costco meatballs.


Tree-napping mama bear started day eating birthday cake

Mama bear and cubs still in tree and 'very scared,' official says

Mama bear, two cubs perched in Altadena-area tree

-- Rong-Gong Lin II and Kate Mather

Photo: A mother California black bear and her two cubs settle in on a tree above a home on Edgecliff Lane in Altadena. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times