Bears make a splash in LA

The Associated Press
Saturday June 09, 2001

BRADBURY— A couple of bears took off early from the forest Friday and headed into the city for dip and a bite to eat. 

The 300-pound black bears began wandering Los Angeles suburbs in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains at midmorning and one paddled around a backyard pool before they separated and ambled back into the wilderness at midafternoon. 

“They are just roaming, looking for food,” sheriff’s Lt. Debra Lenhart said. “They come down at least once a month. We are so close to the mountains. And they like to cool off in the pools.” 

State Fish and Game workers monitored the bears and authorities asked residents to stay in their homes while the animals were in the area. Schools were also notified. 

Officials reminded people not feed any bears that come down from the mountains. 

Bears that repeatedly wander out of the 694,000-acre Angeles National Forest and find suburban amenities too alluring can face big trouble. 

A bear with a fondness for hot tubs in neighboring Monrovia faced a death sentence after his 1994 capture, but a campaign by children won a reprieve from the governor’s office. 

Dubbed Samson, the big bear became the star attraction of the Orange County Zoo until he was euthanized last month at age 27. 

Bradbury is 21 miles east of Los Angeles.