In a heart-wrenching turn of events, residents in the vicinity of San Bernardino were witness to a dramatic chase through their town as a bear led officials on a pursuit that ended in tragedy.
The female bear, originally from the Sierra Madre, brought out crowds of onlookers in Muscoy, an area north of San Bernardino, as she became the center of attention during a fateful day.
The Bear’s Origin
This three to four-year-old female bear, weighing between 250 and 300 pounds, embarked on a journey that would capture the community’s attention. Originating from Sierra Madre, she had already been captured and relocated to the San Gabriel Mountains above San Dimas after wandering into urban areas. Her travels continued, leading her to the streets of Muscoy.
A Day in the Tree
The saga began when the bear took refuge in a tree at Mary and Darby Streets in Muscoy around 7:30 a.m. on a fateful Thursday. As the day unfolded, the news of the bear’s presence spread, drawing large crowds of curious residents eager to catch a glimpse of the remarkable visitor. The situation quickly escalated into a unique and tense standoff.
Officials on the Scene
Officials from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, led by Kevin Howells, responded to the scene with hopes of safely tranquilizing the bear. However, the risk of causing her harm by tranquilizing her from such heights was too great, prompting officials to opt for a waiting game. As hours turned into evening, the bear remained perched high in the tree, seemingly unwilling to come down.
The Bear’s Descent and Tragic Outcome
It wasn’t until just before 7 p.m. that the bear decided to descend from her lofty refuge. As she made her way to the ground, she began to roam the streets, scaling fences, and venturing through residential neighborhoods. The presence of more than a hundred spectators added to her stress, contributing to a sense of chaos.
In a tragic turn of events, the bear was struck and killed by a vehicle while attempting to cross the 210 Freeway. The sudden loss left the community in shock and mourning.
Learning to Coexist with Wildlife
This heartbreaking incident serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of coexisting peacefully with wildlife, even in urban areas. As Kevin Howells emphasized, bear habitat extends beyond remote mountains into foothill communities. Homeowners and residents must take measures to secure attractants and eliminate scents that could draw bears onto their properties.
Staying Safe During Wildlife Encounters
In light of this incident, wildlife officials urge the public to exercise caution during wildlife encounters. Staying indoors and avoiding large crowds can help reduce stress on animals and facilitate their safe capture.
The National Park Service also offers valuable tips for staying safe when encountering bears, including speaking calmly, appearing larger, and never attempting to run or climb a tree.
This tragic event serves as a poignant reminder of the delicate balance between humans and wildlife, highlighting the need for understanding and respect as we share our environment with these remarkable creatures.