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Bear wanders SCV

Officials say animals emerging from hibernation at this time of year

Posted: April 20, 2009 10:33 p.m.
Updated: April 21, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 

Driving home early Monday morning, Mike Underwood thought he spotted a large, black dog out of the corner of his eye. But what Underwood saw was no dog.

A second look confirmed that what he saw was a bear lumbering along Camp Plenty Road near Nadal Street.

Underwood was heading north on Camp Plenty around 12:20 a.m. when he spotted the bruin and slowed his vehicle.

"Sure enough, it was a bear," he said, and added as he drove uphill the bear continued running alongside his truck.

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station received a call about a bear sighting in Canyon Country around 10 p.m. Sunday, Sheriff's Lt. Tom Bryskie said.

"It definitely wasn't a cub," Underwood said, and added the bear he saw would probably stand about 5 feet tall on its hind legs. The 19 year-old said this was the first time he's seen a bear in Santa Clarita.

The bear turned around before Underwood reached his home on Chadway Street, and he said when he got out of his truck he saw the beast running down Camp Plenty.

The state Department of Fish and Game received no reports of a bear sighting, according to spokeswoman Carol Singleton. She said a sighting would not be unusual, however, and added the animals come in and out of hibernation at this time of year.

"There are sightings throughout the area all year-round," she said.

"Problems begin when bears learn to associate an easy food supply with humans and developed areas," said Doug Updike, Fish and Game's statewide bear program coordinator, last summer. "Once this happens the bear becomes habituated or conditioned to go after human food because it's easy. If people don't change their ways, the bear won't either."

The department estimates there are between 25,000 and 35,000 bears throughout the state.

Bear sightings can be reported to the Sheriff's Station by calling (661) 255-1121.

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