A bear performed a balancing act on the roof of a two-story Southern California apartment building Thursday before showing off more agility by climbing down a tree and scampering across a busy intersection to the surprise of drivers and pedestrians.
Animal services officers responded to the report of a medium-size black bear that climbed on the rooftop and balanced on wooden beams near balconies at apartments in Monrovia. Neighborhood bear visits are not uncommon in the San Gabriel Valley foothill community, where the bear was likely looking for food.
The bear leaped onto a sturdy branch near the roof, then slowly climbed down before darting through traffic at South Mountain Avenue and East Foothill Boulevard in front of drivers and pedestrians, many of whom gathered to watch the bear. Officers in an animal services vehicle followed the bear to keep people at a safe distance as the bear headed back toward the mountains north of Monrovia.
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 CA 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 Mountains.
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 received minor injuries.