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Bears plague Bouquet Canyon in recent weeks

Posted: September 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.

A black bear is seen near a home on Bouquet Canyon on Thursday.

 

 A California black bear — or perhaps more than one — has been visiting residents of cabins in Bouquet Canyon for the past three weeks, but some of the humans who live there want the four-footed denizens relocated somewhere more remote.

“It’s been quite a while since there’s been a bear up here,” said the Rev. Thomas Davis, who has lived in the Upper Bouquet Canyon area for 15 years.

“It’s kind of amusing,” Davis said. “But I’m worried for the bears. This is the bears’ home.”

The area near the Big Oaks Lodge is mostly Angeles National Forest land, but it’s peppered with cabins built in the early 1900s that are rented mostly by folks who don’t like the crowds of the suburbs.

That’s not to say they like black bears crowding them, either.

Davis said he saw the bear Thursday morning.

“I should have known something was up when I noticed something had been pillaging our trash,” he said.

He estimated the bear he encountered in his yard at 9 a.m. Thursday weighed 400 to 500 pounds. “It was pretty bold,” he said, noting he had seen bears previously only at night.

Mike Macbeane spotted a bear on his property last Friday and agreed with Davis about the boldness, if not the weight, of the creature.

Hugging Macbeane’s fireplace, the bear scratched himself on the back, knocked off the cabin’s satellite dish and caused some damage to the roof, Macbeane said.

“He was grabbing the cable with his mouth like a panda eats bamboo,” Macbeane said, “playing with it, kind of jovial.”

“I was worried because there are also power lines and cables,” Macbeane said.

The bear eventually sauntered off down the road toward a neighbor’s house, Macbeane added estimating its weight at 350 pounds.

When the bear damaged his roof, Macbeane said, he called the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and the Department of Fish and Game.

Fish and Game officials said they would relocate the bear 20 miles away if it became a danger to people, but they would not relocate unless danger was threatened because the area is the bear’s home, Macbeane said.

Multiple calls from The Signal to Fish and Game were not returned Thursday.

Davis and other residents are pushing for relocation as a preventive measure.

“I think the bear ought to be relocated further out,” Davis said. “I don’t want anyone to get hurt, and I don’t want the bears to get hurt.”

“It’s just a matter of time before there’s a confrontation between people and the bears,” resident Noel Borensztejn said.

But Frank Hoffman, recreation services supervisor for Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation at Placerita Canyon Nature Center, urged residents to take some precautions to peacefully co-exist with the bear.

He advised residents to secure their trash cans, clear all trash and pet food from the yard and not feed the bears.

“It’s illegal to feed the bears,” Hoffman said. “Leave them alone. Make loud noises to scare them out of the area.”

The only native bears left in California are black bears, he said, adding: “They come in different-color faces, but they are all the black bear.”

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