First Bear in Two Centuries Spotted in the Santa Monica Mountains

We can now add bears to the growing list of animals making a comeback in parts of California. Employees with the National Park Service say they’ve discovered photographic evidence of a black bear foraging in Malibu Creek State Park on July 26.

Bears can be found in other parts of the Southland, including the Santa Susana and San Gabriel Mountains. But this is the first time a bear has been spotted in the Santa Monica Mountain region since the 1800s when the grizzlies last roamed the state.

Experts aren’t sure how the beast ended up in the area. They’re checking camera traps around Liberty Canyon at the site of a proposed wildlife crossing to see if the bear crossed there. Proponents of the junction say it’s needed to create a safe passage for wildlife, especially cougars, into the mountain range.

"The ecological health of the Santa Monica Mountains depends in part on our ability to maintain natural connections with areas north of the freeway," said David Szymanski, superintendent for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service.

Image Credit: Flickr User cbrown1023, https://flic.kr/p/54Lb8P via (CC BY 2.0)


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