A security camera captured a devoted dog mom’s wild standoff with a protective mama bear in the back yard of a San Gabriel Valley home over Memorial Day weekend.
The video shows a bear and two cubs walking on top of a block wall behind the house in Bradbury. The family’s four barking dogs soon charge the bears and chaos ensues.
The two cubs scampered back behind a tree, but the mama bear appeared to extend a paw toward one of the smaller dogs.
Fearing for her dogs’ safety, a teen girl joined the fray after hearing the frantic barks. Hailey Morinico can be seen running toward the bear and shoving the animal in a response she said was the result of pure instinct to protect her dogs.
“I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a bear and it is taking my dog. It is lifting it up off the ground,’” Hailey said. “In that split second, I decided to push the bear, like it was nothing, apparently.
“I pick up my other dog and I scram.”
The bear fell backward off the wall, poking its head back over for one last look before running off. Hailey can be seen running the opposite direction and carrying one dog under her arm like a football.
No serious injuries were reported.
Bradbury is a foothill community east of Los Angeles near Angeles National Forest.
Human-bear encounters are rare in California, but bears often visit foothill communities and other areas that abut wilderness in search of food -- especially on trash day. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has a list of tips and general guidelines to follow regarding bear encounters.
Experts advise not confronting a bear.
Black bears, recognized by their small, narrow heads and small ears, have coats that range in color from tan or brown to black. Females grow up to about 200 pounds and males can be a hefty 350 pounds with some giants weighing in at more than 600 pounds.
California's black bear population has been on the rise over the last two decades, growing from an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 in the early 1980s to between 25,000 and 30,000 -- and that's a conservative estimate, according to the state department of fish and wildlife. They're good climbers who can easily scale a tree -- or in the case, a block wall.
About half of the state's bear population can be found in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and areas to the north and west. Only an estimated 10 percent of the black bear population inhabits central western and southwestern California.
Black bears like to feed on plants, insects, nuts, berries and whatever else they think of as edible -- such as the contents of trash bins. If food is scarce in their natural habitat, bears are likely to forage elsewhere, bringing them into Southern California foothill neighborhoods.
Although it's on the state flag, the fearsome grizzly bear no longer can be found in the California wild. The last grizzly bear observed in California was shot in the early 1920s.