Bear Sighted Outside Ridgecrest Walmart

Original source:

BY: Jessica Weston, Ridgecrest Daily Independent
May 15, 2021

A male bear spotted Saturday morning in the southeast part of Ridgecrest was captured by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Ridgecrest police said.

The bear was deemed safe, uninjured and apparently healthy, Capt. Aaron Tucker said. No one was injured in the noon time incident.

The plan was for fish and wildlife to release the bear in its proper habitat, Tucker said.

The bear — which appears to be a black bear — was first reported to the Ridgecrest Police Department around 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning, Tucker said.

Jon Wheeler was outside working on a chicken coop in his yard around that time when his dog alerted him that something was going on.

"I tucked my head around the corner and [the bear] was there. I went inside and got my camera and took some pictures." The bear then jumped the fence and walked off, Wheeler said. He described the bear as a chocolate brown-colored black bear.

Wheeler called the bear sighting in from his home in the county and was informed the Ridgecrest Police Department had received several calls.

Wheeler, a hunter, got within 20 to 30 feet from the bear while photographing it in his yard.

"I respect bears and I was not going to do anything that was going to provoke him or cause a problem," he said.

The bear was later spotted near the Ridgecrest Walmart Supercenter, which was briefly closed, according to a Walmart employee.

The bear was later located on private property, asleep in a tree.

Neighbors were alerted to the situation. Ridgecrest officers, Kern County Sheriff’s deputies, Bureau of Land Management and PACT volunteers joined forces to establish a perimeter around the bear while awaiting the arrival of fish and wildlife from Bakersfield.

"It is not uncommon for wildlife to wander into our area, always be safe. Call the police if you see a wild animal," Tucker said.

The story of the bear’s visit to Ridgecrest was popular online, with the bear developing a small fan club on Facebook.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife offers the following safety tips if you run across a bear:

If a bear breaks into your home, do not confront the bear. Most bears will quickly look for an escape route. Move away to a safe place. Do not block exit points. If the bear does not leave, get to a safe place and call 911.

If you encounter a bear in your yard, chances are it will move on if there is nothing for the bear to forage. If there is enough distance between you and the bear, you can encourage the bear to leave by using noisemakers or blowing a whistle.

If you encounter a bear while hiking and it does not see you. Back away slowly, increase your distance. Clap hands or make noise so the bear knows you are there and will move on.

If you encounter a bear on the trail and it sees you. Do not make eye contact. Slowly back away. Do NOT run. Let the bear know you are not a threat. Give it a way out.

If a bear approaches you, make yourself look bigger by lifting and waving arms. Use noisemakers, or yell at the bear. If small children are present, keep them close to you.

Carry and know how to use bear spray as a deterrent. In the event of a black bear attack, it is usually recommended to fight back. However, each situation is different.

Prevention is the key.

Black bear attacks are rare in California and typically are defensive in nature because the bear is surprised or defending cubs; however, bears accustomed to people may become too bold and act aggressively.

Female black bears will often send cubs up a tree and leave the area in response to a perceived threat. Do not remain in the area – when you leave, she will come back for her cubs.


Note: this story has had multiple updates and has been edited for clarity

Posted on Μάιος 20, 2021 0904 ΜΜ by out_west_jess out_west_jess


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