Young bear breaks into Sierra Madre home, heads straight for honey

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Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Young bear breaks into SoCal home, heads straight for honey
Imagine coming home from a night out to learn a bear had ransacked your home while you were gone. That's exactly what happened to one Sierra Madre homeowner.

SIERRA MADRE, Calif. (KABC) -- Imagine coming home from a night out to learn a bear had ransacked your home while you were gone. That's what happened to one Sierra Madre homeowner this week.

"I walked into my courtyard, I looked to the left my side door is open, and I see the refrigerator door open through the window," recalled Chelsea Mapanda. "That's when I was aware that there was a bear inside my home."

Seemingly unfazed, Mapanda recalled a recent warning about a young juvenile bear around her property off South Hermosa Avenue, so the discovery wasn't a total shock.

"I already knew, and I called police and sure enough, upon investigation, they heard the bear in there and here we are," she said.

Bear sightings, of course, are nothing new, but bear break-ins appear to be on the rise along the foothills. Since early July, the city of Sierra Madre has received more than 30 calls about bears in structures, which is more than the amount of calls received in the past two years combined.

"Their sense of smell is incredible, it's actually 100 times better than ours, and a curious bear may be interested in, you know, trying to open a screen or entering in through an open door or window," said Jessica West, a Human-Wildlife Conflict Specialist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Wildlife officials confirmed the young bear made its own way out of the home. Mapanda has full understanding of the risk associated with living in the area and is even accepting some of the blame.

"We're pressed against the foothills. Anybody that lives against the foothills, especially, you know, that we do have wildlife," she said. "Honestly, this is one of those incidents where I could have done a better job to enforce my home and therefore, we have a wild animal in our home. But nonetheless, there's no blame upon the animal. The animal is just acting within its nature and there's a respect for that."

So why so many calls for bear break-ins recently? It's tough to tell but officials said we can help bring them down.

"Food, water, shelter left available on the landscape will continue to attract wildlife," said Mackenzie Rich, another CDFW Human-Wildlife Conflict Specialist. "When we don't properly secure those attractants and keep wildlife from accessing them, they're going to continue to choose to be in the area and access those resources. The best thing we can do to try to get these numbers down is to secure those attractants."