Bear Escapes Southern California Heat in Backyard Pool | NBC Southern California

Bear Escapes Southern California Heat in Backyard Pool

The black bear relaxed in the pool for about 15 minutes during a warm weekend in Southern California

A bear takes a dip Sunday Sept. 14, 2014 in Sierra Madre. (Published Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014)

A bear used a Sierra Madre homeowner's backyard pool Sunday to cool off during a Southern California heat wave that included triple-digit temperatures during the weekend.

The bear arrived late Sunday afternoon at the home, where it explored the backyard patio before splashing into the pool. The bear stayed in the water for about 15 minutes, resting on steps at both ends, before climbing out.

Resident Thomas See said this was the first time he has seen a bear swimming around in the pool. Bears in search of an easy snack often appear in the San Gabriel Valley community on trash days, he added.

The bear appeared to head south after the swim, See said.

California's black bear population is at about 25,000 to 30,000, with most living in mountain areas above 3,000 feet, according to what the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife calls conservative estimates. In 1982, the statewide bear population was estimated at between 10,000 and 15,000.

Less than 10 percent of the state's black bear population lives in the central western and southwestern California region, according to agency estimates. About half of the population resides in an area north and west of the Sierra Nevada.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has recorded 12 "bear attacks" since 1980. An attack is defined as "physical contact, injury or death."

The last reported attack in Los Angeles County occurred in July 2003 when a hiker was knocked down by a bear at a campsite on Pacific Crest Trail in Angeles National Forest. The hiker suffered minor injuries.