Bear cub takes midnight stroll through Thousand Oaks neighborhood

A young bear roams the streets of Newbury Park early Friday.
A young bear was spotted roaming the streets of Newbury Park early Friday. A Ventura County sheriff’s deputy followed the cub for nearly an hour before it ran off into an open space.

Residents of a Newbury Park neighborhood had an unexpected visitor in their yards overnight: a wandering black bear cub.

A Ventura County sheriff’s deputy was on patrol shortly after midnight near Teardrop Court in the Thousand Oaks neighborhood when the furry youngster was spotted toddling down the street, the department said. The cub didn’t seem to be aggressive as it meandered around the neighborhood before waddling south onto Reino Road.

The deputy followed the young bear for nearly an hour before it ran off into an open space away from the neighborhood. Video caught by OnScene.TV shows the cub scampering down the sidewalk, ambling across neighbors’ yards and moseying into business parking lots, unbothered by the sheriff’s car vehicle, which was following it closely.


Tim Daly, a spokesperson for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the agency was not notified by the Sheriff’s Department of the wildlife encounter. California’s vast mountain range makes these types of sightings common, he said.

Directly south of where the bear cub was found is the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which has plenty of habitat for California’s black bears, Daly said. It is the world’s largest urban park, according to the National Park Service.

Daly said the state agency hasn’t been notified of any other bear sightings in Ventura County in the last two years, but wildlife experts warn these encounters are becoming more common in urban areas of California. In March, a young black bear was spotted twice in the same week near an Eagle Rock neighborhood in Los Angeles.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website advises homeowners to “bear-proof” their homes by using wildlife-proof trash containers and bringing pets indoors at night, or providing shelter to outdoor animals. Residents who spot a bear in their neighborhood are encouraged to keep a safe distance from the animal and contact authorities.