Mama bear involved in Sierra Madre confrontation with dog to be released back into wild

SIERRA MADRE, Calif. (KABC) -- A mama bear involved in a confrontation that injured a man and his dog in a Sierra Madre neighborhood will be released back into the wild, officials say.

The bear was protecting her cub and was not acting unusually aggressive in the encounter, California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials say.

Monday's incident left the man and dog with bite and scratch injuries. Both were given medical treatment and are expected to recover.

It appears the mother bear and cub strayed onto a man's property in the 500 block of Hermosa Avenue when his dog began barking at the cub.

The mother bear attacked the dog, and to protect his pet the homeowner then kicked the bear. The bear scratched the man's calves and bit him in the back of his right knee.

Animal control officers responded to the scene, followed the bears down the street and tranquilized the mother and cub.

Officials were initially concerned that the adult bear was aggressive because of a report of a bear attack on a homeless man in the area.

After collecting DNA evidence officials found that was not the case.

Investigators say she was simply acting in self defense.

Wildlife expert and author Christopher Nygeres says most black bears are not interested in attacking humans and are just trying to survive in what little territory they have left.

"I think in the last 20 years, there have been something like 14 bear attacks. That's not a lot. That's almost nothing," said Nygeres, author of "Enter the Forest."

"The black bear that's here, they will bluff you. They will tell you stay away, get out of my territory, but they're not particularly interested in humans."

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is currently in the process of releasing the bears back to a suitable habitat not far from where they were found.
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