Friday, July 29th, 2016

Black Bear Sightings Around The City

On Thursday evening at 7:15 PM the San Luis Obispo Police Department began receiving calls of a black bear in the 300 block of Broad. Officers responded to the area locating what appeared to be a healthy black bear, approximately 250 pounds, which had wondered into the neighborhood. Officers determined the bear was not acting in a threatening manner and appeared as though it was trying to make its way back to its natural habitat. Officers were able to use a less than lethal, beanbag launcher to push the bear out of the neighborhood and back into nearby wooded areas. The bear was unharmed during its time in the neighborhood.
On Friday morning at 7:15 AM, the Police Department received additional calls reporting the bear had returned and was in Santa Rosa Park. Responding officers located what we believe to be the same bear. Again, the bear was not acting in a threatening manner and officers were able to chase the bear into the creek area below Santa Rosa Park. The Police Department set a perimeter around the bear and those officers attempted to keep the bear stationary while officers from the California Department of Fish and Game responded to assist in re-locating the bear. While Fish and Game Officers were responding, the bear ran north, up Stenner Creek. Officers lost sight of the bear up-creek from the Cal-Poly lemon grove near Highland Drive. After an extensive search it was believed the bear had left the City and found its way back to wooded areas.
At 10:45 AM the Police Department began receiving additional calls about the bear, this time in the area of the Mustang Village apartments off Foothill. Officers from the San Luis Obispo Police Department, Cal-Poly Police Department, California Fish and Game, USDA, California Highway Patrol and County Animal Services responded in an attempt to locate the bear for the purpose of relocation. Officers from Fish and Game and Animal Services responded with tranquilizers so the bear could be taken safely from the area. The bear was quickly located and a perimeter was established so the tranquilizers could be used. Large groups of people attempting to take photographs of the bear in the student housing area scared the bear and it broke through the perimeter. San Luis Obispo Police officers were able to deploy less than lethal beanbag launchers to steer the bear out of the populated area towards the area of the Highland lemon grove. This was an effective way for officer’s on-scene to move the bear without having to resort to lethal means. A secondary perimeter was established around the bear and a tranquilizer dart was deployed at the bear. The bear fled the area north, up Stenner Creek. The bear was allowed to run up the creek so the tranquilizer could take effect. As officers moved to where the bear had bedded down it fled quickly north past Highland Drive along Stenner Creek. After an extensive ground and air search of the area it was determined the bear was no longer in the area. The effects of the tranquilizer are supposed to last approximately 30 minutes to two hours. After this time the bear would be able to function normally without assistance from a veterinarian.
At no time during these three incidents did the bear become threatening towards the community or officers. The officers were able to effectively manage the bear by use of the beanbag rounds which typically do not penetrate the skin of its intended target. While this bear was not relocated a significant distance from the City it is believed to have found its way back to its natural habitat.
Should you see what you believe to be a dangerous animal in the City, you are encouraged to call the Police Department so the animal can effectively be relocated back to its natural environment.