H-SAN LUIS OBISPO

Jun 18, 2011 12:00 AM by Danielle Lerner

Local family captures bear on surveillance camera

Three bear sightings in three days. Local wildlife officials believe the same bear is making the rounds through a San Luis Obispo neighborhood. The bear was last seen around 3:00 a.m. Friday at a house off Flora and Sydney Streets.

People in that same area reported seeing it after midnight Thursday, and on Wednesday officers say a bear ate a pet chicken at a home on San Luis Drive. KSBY News caught up with the local family who captured the bear's latest visit on camera.

Maggie King and her husband were expecting some visitors overnight, their grandson and six of his friends were camping in the backyard. However when they saw what an unexpected visitor left behind Friday morning, they decided to check their Stealth surveillance camera.

"Sure enough a big picture of the bear popped up walking right there in that spot," said King.

The bear was spotted about 20 yards from where the kids were camping and King believes it was interested in her chicken coop.

"They're like our pets," said King. "We really love our chickens."

On Wednesday officers believe this same bear ate a pet chicken from a coop on San Luis Drive. Those homeowners also snapped a photo, showing the bear's eyes glowing in the dark. Still the Department of Fish and Game has no plans to trap it, saying it needs to return to the wild on its own.

"It's right on the edge of bear habitat and it's gotten into trouble so right now it's kind of just a wait and see, and hopefully it doesn't go into anything else within that," said Bob Stafford, an associate wildlife biologist with the department.

As for the King family, they are not afraid of the bear.

"It's exciting, we think this kind of stuff's fun," King said. "We don't want anything to happen to the bear."

Even so, they will be keeping a close eye on their chickens.

"They usually walk around free in the day time but until the bear has moved further out of town I think we're going to keep them in their little enclosure," King said.

The Department of Fish and Game is advising people in that area to store garbage in bear-proof containers in their garage, clean barbeque grills, keep pet food inside and pick up fallen fruit from fruit trees. Also people with chicken coops should make sure they are secure, or even consider moving them.

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