The adult black bear that scratched a man on his Sierra Madre property on June 10 was protecting her cub and not acting abnormally aggressive, a California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) investigation has concluded. CDFW is in the process of releasing both the bear and cub back to suitable habitat near the location where they were captured.
The sow strayed onto the man’s property, where the adult bear was challenged by the man’s dog. The sow had a cub nearby. The dog reportedly engaged in a physical confrontation with the sow prompting the man to run into the fray to save his dog. He kicked the sow, which prompted it to scratch him. CDFW biologists concluded the bear acted in defense of itself and its cub, which constitutes normal behavior. The man successfully saved the dog and called 911. The injuries to the man and his dog were not serious and both are expected to fully recover.
A wildlife officer responded to the scene and tranquilized both bears after the man identified them as the ones involved in the incident. Officers collected DNA evidence samples from the man and the sow and sent them to the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento for analysis. Forensics scientists compared the DNA profile of the captured adult bear to those of evidence taken from the man to conclude with a very high level of confidence that the captured bear was the one involved in the incident.
Forensics scientists also compared the bear’s DNA to the DNA evidence collected from a bear attack reported on April 25, also in Sierra Madre. The evidence showed that it was not the same bear.
CDFW reminds Californians that much of the state is bear country, even Los Angeles County, one of the most populated counties in the United States. CDFW encourages the citizens of Sierra Madre and anyone living in and around bear habitat to review tips on how to better coexist with bears and other wildlife at KeepMeWild.org. CDFW also recently published seven things to know about California bear activity right now.
CDFW will share photos of the release on social media when available.