The California Department of Fish and Wildlife captured a 1-year-old female bear Thursday morning after it scampered up a tree in the City in the Hills neighborhood in northeast Bakersfield.
Residents reported seeing the bear in the residential neighborhood off Highway 178 at about 8:13 a.m., said Sgt. Joe Grubbs of the Bakersfield Police Department.
Police searched the neighborhood and eventually found the young omnivore in a tree, he said.
“We just secured the area and kept people away and left her a path for escape in case she wanted to go home, but she didn’t leave,” Grubbs said.
It was a young black bear estimated to weigh about 100 pounds, said Janice Mackey, an information officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, formerly Fish and Game.
“We do get bear sightings all over the state,” Mackey said. “It’s been a dry winter. Bears are waking up. We suspect she was following the Kern River and probably took a wrong turn.
“We call these a no-harm, no-foul bears,” she said. Bears that enter a populated area, but don’t go after trash cans, behave aggressively or cause property damage are typically tranquilized, temporarily hobbled and transported to a wildlife area.
Mackey said this bear was probably a sub-adult — not a cub, not an adult bear, but likely able to forage for food on its own.
Fish and Wildlife wardens captured the bear at 10:16 a.m. and were expected to release her into a suitable habitat away from populated areas, Grubbs said.
Gary Smith, a resident of Four Seasons, one of the housing developments at City in the Hills, said it’s a little unnerving to hear that a bear was roaming his neighborhood. But the 60-year-old, who once lived in Colorado where wildlife sightings were common, said it’s not too big of a deal.
Like Smith, Lisa Williams, 48, did not spot the bear Thursday morning. Unlike Smith, she had not heard about the incident until a reporter asked her about it.
“That’s a little scary,” said Williams, who lives in the Rosemary Arbor development.
These neighborhoods are certainly not in the city’s urban core, but Williams said she hasn’t even seen smaller animals such as raccoons, opossums or skunks in the neighborhood — much less bears.
“I haven’t yet,” she said. “Thank God.”