Bear Encounters in Sierra Madre: A Growing Concern for Residents

Sierra Madre residents are divided over the increasing number of black bear encounters in their community. While some enjoy the wildlife, others are calling for action to prevent the bears from coming down from the Angeles National Forest.

For Carla Cowan, having bears in her yard is a common occurrence. She enjoys their presence and even welcomes them inside her house, although she makes sure they know they’re not supposed to be there. But not everyone in the community shares her enthusiasm.

Glenn Lambdin, a former mayor of Sierra Madre, is concerned about the growing number of bear sightings in the area. He believes that the bears are expanding their urban area as they look for food, which is becoming scarce in the wilderness. This has led them to raid garbage cans in residential areas, including the Sierra Madre Elementary School campus, where Lambdin’s granddaughter was present during a bear sighting.

According to Tim Daly of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, black bears are not typically aggressive towards humans. However, Lambdin points out that there have been four reported incidents of bears getting too close to people in Sierra Madre over the past four years, making it the area with the most incidents in the state. He worries that it’s only a matter of time until a tragedy occurs, especially if bears continue to feel comfortable entering school campuses.

Lambdin has asked the Sierra Madre City Council to pressure the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the State to recognize the potential issue and reduce the bear population in the urbanized area to zero. However, Daly says that the department’s management of the population does not include euthanizing or relocating the animals, as it could create problems in other communities.

The debate over how to manage the growing bear population in Sierra Madre continues, as some residents call for more action to prevent bear encounters while others enjoy the presence of the wildlife. As this issue develops, it remains to be seen how the community will balance the needs of both humans and bears.