A (presumably off-course) black bear was spotted early Sunday strolling around Petaluma. The sighting triggered a shelter-in-place advisory for the Raymond Heights neighborhood — leaving residents concerned, perplexed, and curious about the bear's whereabouts.
As the adage goes: The closer humans encroach on nature, the more likely nature is expected to come into their lives, unexpectedly and completely unannounced. Such a scenario played out in a small southwestern neighborhood in Petaluma Sunday, which led to local police taking to social media announcing that there was a wayward bear in the area.
“We are monitoring the situation and coordinating with North Bay Animal Services and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife,” according to a post on the Petaluma Police Department Facebook page, which was published around 8 a.m. Sunday; police noted that the bear made its way up a tree, where it remained. “The bear has climbed up a tree and has remained contained there. Community members are requested to stay out of the area and those in the area are encouraged to stay indoors and keep pets inside.”
As of publishing, no further updates have been given on the bear's condition or whether or not it safely exited the tree.
Black bear sightings have become increasingly more common in the North Bay over the past few years — especially since the pandemic began and wildfires started ravishing parts of the region. These large omnivores have been seen seeking urban refuge from blazes near Lake Tahoe, as well as one lone bear that was seen up a tree earlier this year in Marin.
Some 35,000 black bears are estimated to exist in California — a figure that's more than double of what their numbers were back in the 1980s.
And remember: Never approach, offer food, or provoke wildlife... no matter what YouTube algorithm fed you a video of a 500-pound brown bear cuddling up to its "owner." Black bears, like coyotes and rattlesnakes and raccoons, aren't domesticated fauna. They're meant to be left unbothered in the wild; it's our job as the dominant species on this planet to respect that boundary.
"In the event that wildlife is encountered in the community do not approach them," capped the Petaluma Police Department in its Facebook post on the rogue bear. "Should community members encounter wildlife in town please report those incidents so we can work to safety assist the animal out of the area."
Top Image: Getty Images/yingyang0