California is going through something of a black bear boom. At any given moment, there are more than 25,000 black bears roaming the state’s forests with their narrow heads, small ears, and tan, brown and black bellies.
But that also means there has been increased contact between bears and people.
A troublemaking bear in Kern County
Earlier this summer in Pine Mountain Club, a private community in Kern County, a hungry black bear had been scavenging inside of dumpsters and homes in search of food. According to Steve Torres, a supervisor with the Wildlife Investigations Lab, an organization that watches over California wildlife, this mother bear had become a local troublemaker.
“This bear had gotten into several homes, and the cubs had been following along,” Torres says.
Yet this pattern, Torres says, wasn’t entirely the bears’ fault. People had been feeding the bear and her cubs. That’s illegal in California …