ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST (CBSLA.com) — The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has killed a bear it believes injured a camper in the Angeles National Forest near Altadena last week.
The man was inside his tent Friday looking at his iPad when the small bear swiped at the tent at Millard Campground. In the process, she scratched the camper’s head, which required a lot of stitches.
Wildlife wardens said after they captured the bear, they used DNA evidence to identify it as the one that hurt the camper.
They said even though the bear didn’t intentionally do it, they had to euthanize the 2-year-old to test her for diseases and for public safety reasons.
“Once there’s an attack, we have to err on the side of caution and assume that bear has been conditioned or maybe has lost that fear of humans. So, we have to assume that bear may do it again,” said Lt. J.C. Healy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“Horrible move. I understand the human contact thing. But at a minimum, they could’ve put it in a zoo. Just not too far from here, there’s a wildlife preserve or something like that. They could’ve put it in that place,” campground user Jim Banks said.
“I’m glad that people can feel safe here. I’m sorry that a bear had to lose his life,” said Jonathan Hofer, who lives near the campground.
Healy said they are not sure exactly what attracted the bear to the tent, but bears are drawn by scent. The camper said he did not have food inside.
If you plan to go camping this holiday weekend, read signs about how to keep away bears.
“It’s always best to secure and lock your food away from yourself, maybe in your car,” Healy advised.
He said this type of incident is rare because California black bears are skittish and don’t want anything to do with humans.