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Sun Valley bear probably looking for food, wildlife official says

The aroma of trash and leftover people food proved too alluring Wednesday for a bear in Sun Valley, where police and wildlife officials tracked the animal through a residential neighborhood.

“The smells are what bring them there,” Andrew Hughan, spokesman for the California Department Fish and Wildlife told KTLA-TV during an interview. “It’s all about the food.”

The bear appeared to be about 15 months old and had a tag on its ear, meaning it has been trapped before, Hughan said.

Calls started coming into the LAPD’s Foothill community station about 6:10 a.m., said Sgt. Thomas Wunsch. Within an hour, state wildlife officials armed with tranquilizers were headed to the area.

LAPD officers were handling the situation until wildlife officials arrived, authorities said.

“It’s going to be pretty tricky to get close to him,” Hughan said. “What we hope is that he will get himself trapped [in a corner] so we can tranquilize him and take him back to open space.”

The bear traveled more than a quarter-mile between Sun Valley and Shadow Hills during its morning adventure. TV news cameras showed it hopping backyard walls, scaling frontyard fences and slipping through horse corrals.

“If you come close to this bear, stay away from it,” Hughan said. “He’s terrified … he’s just wandering around looking for a place to get out.”

As a general tip, residents shouldn’t put out their trash out until the morning of collection so the smell doesn’t attract wild animals, Hughan said.

In rural areas, homeowners should be vigilant in picking their fruit trees, “especially avocados,” he said. "It's the fat content in avocados. It's their favorite."

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joseph.serna@latimes.com

@josephserna

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