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May 11, 2013 1:22 AM by Victoria Johnson

What to do if you encounter a bear

It's usually the otters that draw a crowd at Morro Rock. Yesterday, a black bear was the main attraction. Officials tranquilized the 250 pound black bear and relocated it. However, this was a rare occurrence and an unusual place for the bear to be. Black bears are common and are venturing closer to populated areas. With more people heading outdoors to enjoy spring weather, it's important to know what to do if you come across a bear.
"I did see his ears and they tranquilized him," said Sandy Ashby. She was one of many in Morro Bay that saw the bear on the rock yesterday. We most likely won't know where the bear came from but some think he may have come from Montana de Oro.
"It's exciting when there is wild life around here. It brings everybody out. They were all curious," said Ashby.
A lot of people heard about the bear and went to check it out. Curiosity aside, Morro Bay Firefighter Michael Talmadge is telling people to not to get too close if you happen to cross paths with a bear.
"They're going to go where they want to go. They are big, independent animals so keep your distance. They're wild animals and are attracted to human food and trash," said Talmadge.
Hikers and campers are getting closer to bears' habitat and the bears are coming closer to urban areas, most likely in search of food. However, yesterday's sighting was unusual.
"There are some in Montana de Oro. They don't interact with people every much. It's rare to see one this close to town and very rare at the rock because it's isolated," said Talmadge.
But if you do come across a bear, it's important to stay calm, and don't run.
"Don't try and feed them. They're wild animals. They're big and strong and fast. They're usually not aggressive as long as you aren't aggressive to them," said Talmadge.
If you do see a bear while hiking, make noise and wave your arms to make your presence known and make yourself appear as large as possible. If you come across a bear in a populated area, like the one in Morro Bay yesterday, contact local authorities.



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