A young male black bear has been causing a big stir in Vacaville this week, and prompting multiple warnings from local police to avoid the animal.
The bear was first spotted near the edge of town Sunday night, KTVU reports. Officers think the 250-pound male bear is likely 2-3 years old, and was probably wandering around looking for food when it made its way to the city.
Monday morning, Vacaville Police posted on Facebook warning the bear had reached the North Orchard area and was a little too close to several schools for officers to be entirely comfortable.
“If you see the bear, the safest course of action will be to avoid him, keep doors and windows closed, and consider bringing any pets inside,” the Vacaville Police Department warned.
Officers set up shop at Orchard, Hemlock, and Jepson schools to keep one eye on students making their way to class, and the other on the bear. The Department also temporarily closed Hemlock Street between North Orchard and Fir Street, and limited traffic on North Orchard Avenue to only those entering the school.
🐻 SPOTTED | A male black bear has been spotted roaming the streets of a Vacaville neighborhood, and was even seen in a tree while nearby kids safely went to school.— kcranews (@kcranews) May 2, 2022
How officers plan to handle the situation >> https://t.co/d2fHvm5zXN pic.twitter.com/7thosh3EJG
A black bear has been spotted on the 200 block of N. Orchard Ave in Vacaville. The Vacaville Police has asked folks to stay clear of the area and avoid the bear. The police are planning to “not take direct action, unless it poses a threat.” @KPIXtv pic.twitter.com/befjs8h6ku— BrianKPIX (@brianyuenKPIX) May 2, 2022
Vacaville Police checked in with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to figure out how to safely handle the situation. The department says bear sightings are not uncommon in Solano County, but that people should keep their distance if they do see a bear.
“Remember the safest bear encounter is one we prevent – please do not seek out the bear for curiosity, photographs, or selfies.”
So far as police know, the bear never approached anyone or posed an immediate threat, though at one point it was spotted running and napping in yards, hopping fences, and climbing up a tree in someone’s yard.
"Since this bear hasn’t acted aggressively we are going to back off and we are going to give it the chance to go back to its habitat on its own," Ken Paglia with the Department of Fish and Wildlife told KTVU Monday.
NBC Bay Area reported the police were still keeping an eye on the bear Tuesday, and Solano NewsNet said the bear made its way back to the wilderness later that day.
“Thanks for.. BEARing with us!!” Vacaville police joked on social media.
The Police Department gave some advice on what to do if you spot a bear moving forward, as well as how to deter them from coming onto your property.
“Bring in those trash cans after pickup,” said Vacaville Police. “If you see a bear in town in the future, avoid it and give it the opportunity to avoid you. If the bear doesn’t yet see you, back away to a safe distance. As always, please call us – our public remains our eyes and ears.”
Photo via Vacaville Police Department