California state park officials yesterday released footage of a family of bears, a mother and two cubs, walking at night through Sonoma County's Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. As the Chronicle reports, the familial scene may not just be that of some animals out for a late-night stroll — but rather it could depict animals who have been forced to flee south following wildfires in Napa and Lake counties.
The footage was shot on August 21 and is striking more for just the peek it allows us into the lives of the furry creatures. Specifically, according to a park spokesperson who spoke with the paper, bears are relatively rare in Sonoma County. The Sugarloaf Ridge State Park website tells visitors they can expect to see "deer, gray foxes, the occasional bobcat and coyote" while visiting the park, but makes no mention of bears. And so that the bears were there at all is of particular interest to wildlife officials.
However, this is not the first time a bear has been spotted in the park. In January of this year the Sonoma Index Tribune reported that a black bear had been caught on a motion-activated camera. In that case (see below), the animal decided to lick the camera before heading on its way.