Sightings of Black Bears: How to Keep Stay Safe


Video footage from an Oakley homeowner provided by

As most are aware there was a confirmed sighting of a California Black Bear in a residential neighborhood in Oakley last week, and even more recently in Discovery Bay. While shocking, experts say bear sightings in urban cities are becoming more common due to wildfires and drought conditions in recent years drying their food sources. Wildlife such as bears and mountain lions are starting to look for food and water in new places. 
Black Bear Population Chart

Provided by California Department of Fish and Wildlife

There are an estimated 30,000 – 40,000 bears in California and like the Moutain Lion, they roam to find feeding grounds and what’s easier pickings than the ever-encroaching residences that are abundant in lush daily watered lawns, yummy food left out for other critters, and big plastic containers filled with trash? #BearBuffet
As we advise with all of the visiting wildlife to our City, you need to take precautions to ensure you and your pets’ safety.  Here are some tips you can do to help keep your family safe: 
  • Secure fences and gates.
  • Don’t leave pets outside overnight.
  • Remove pet food from your yard.
  • Install motion-activated lights.
  • Wait to put trash bins out until the morning of collection day.
  • Do not leave trash, groceries, or pet food in your car.
  • Keep grills clean of food.
If you encounter a bear:
  • Make noise while hiking. Talk loudly or whistle.
  • If you surprise a bear, back away not making eye contact. Do not run.
  • If you encounter a bear in your yard, chances are it will move on if there is nothing for the bear to forage. If there is enough distance between you and the bear, you can encourage the bear to leave by using noisemakers or blowing a whistle.
  • If you encounter a bear on the trail and it sees you. Do not make eye contact. Slowly back away. Do NOT run. Let the bear know you are not a threat. Give it a way out.
  • Black bear attacks are rare in California and typically are defensive in nature because the bear is surprised.