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SANTA CLARITA/ANTELOPE VALLEY : Bear Tranquilized After Scaring Neighborhood

TIMES STAFF WRITER

An errant bear wandered into a Quartz Hill community Tuesday morning, startling residents and climbing up a tree before being tranquilized by animal control officials.

The 250-pound black bear was first spotted in a Lancaster commercial area near Avenue L at 6:30 a.m., said Jan Glick, manager of the Los Angeles County Animal Care Department’s animal shelter in Lancaster. The bear, which Glick said was a mature adult male about 5 or 6 years old, strolled down some residential streets before climbing a cottonwood tree off 36th Street West, near N-8 Avenue.

The bear, which was about 15 miles from his likely home in the Angeles National Forest, stayed in the tree for a couple of hours before animal care officials shot him with a tranquilizer, Glick said.

“It looked like a big round ball, and every now and then it would snort,” said Betty Kimball, a Quartz Hill resident who was startled by the bear’s stroll through her neighborhood. “We get a lot of coyotes here, but no bears. I don’t know that I want to see any more bears around here.”

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The bear was taken to the animal shelter where a veterinarian examined him and treated him for a minor ear infection, Glick said. He was later released into the wild.

Glick said bear sightings have increased in the Antelope Valley this year, with at least two other bears spotted.

About 300 black bears make their home in Los Angeles County, mostly in the Angeles National Forest, according to the state Department of Fish and Game. Most of the state’s about 23,900 black bears live in Northern California, and their population has grown in recent years.

“There are more critters of all kinds out there now,” said Patrick Moore, spokesman for the Department of Fish and Game. “The rains have been excellent for all wildlife, and there are more rodents and insects and animals right up the food chain to the bears and mountain lions.”

Moore said that as the increasing numbers of bears and mountain lions compete for food and territory rights, city dwellers will be more likely to see them walking the streets.


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