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Local Bear Population Is Alive and Well

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Many local Mariposa residents have had the experience of walking outside and finding the contents of their cans of garbage spread out buffet style in the yard, an obvious sign a bear visited during the overnight hours.

Tim Kroeker, Mariposa’s Wildlife Biologist from the Madera Unit of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has heard all the stories and responds to wildlife reports all along the foothills in Mariposa County. 

Krocker said, “The Mariposa black bear population is not the same as the Yosemite bear population. In Mariposa, black bears tend to inhabit the foothills side of Highway 49 South between Mariposa and Oakhurst.” He went on to add that the local bear activity increases in Mariposa County between the months of July and August.

A recent visitor to the Dulcich family residence. (Photo by Shelly Dulcich)

Local bears do not hibernate. Bears in the Mariposa area become sluggish and slow during the winter months. The male bears might take a short two-week nap; however, the females are active all year. Black bears are omnivores and descend to lower elevations to forage acorns in the fall to bulk up for winter. They also eat small animals, berries, and other forest offerings.  Kroeker said that black bears also like chicken and offered that the best way to protect a chicken coupe is with an electric fence.

Kroeker said, “Mariposa residents need to know we have a healthy bear population in Mariposa County. Problem bears are assessed on a case-by-case basis by the CDFW. We are very reluctant to relocate or euthanize our local black bears but instead, work with Mariposa County residents to take preventive measures to discourage bear visits. The bottom line for reducing problems with bears is never to leave food available to them.  Animal feed, (this includes cat or dog food on the porch), garbage, fallen fruit and birdseed in the yard all encourage an unwanted visit from a bear.”  

“Residents in high bear population areas should consider purchasing bear-proof trash cans available at the local hardware stores,” Kroeker concluded.

Mariposa residents who have a problem with a black bear or any other bear for that matter, should contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife at its Regional Office by calling (559) 243-4005 extension 132. They can also report an incident online at https://wildlife.ca.gov/Living-with-Wildlife

Additional resources can be found here https://wildlife.ca.gov/Keep-Me-Wild/Bear

(Submitted Flyer)

The above flyer was provided by CDFW.

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