LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A black bear was caught on two mounted cameras in the Santa Monica Mountains at a popular park.

CBS2’s Amy Johnson spoke with hikers at the Malibu Creek State Park, who were a little surprised to hear of the bear sighting, a very rare occurrence in these mountains.

“I always hope I don’t see snakes, but I really hope I don’t see a bear,” Kelsey Egizi said.

Even experts were caught off guard when they saw pictures of the bear snapped July 26.

“It was pretty surprising; we’ve never gotten a bear on any of our cameras in the Santa Monica mountains before. This was the first time we’ve ever had this,” National Park Service Wildlife Ecologist Joanne Moriarty said.

(Credit: National Park Service)

(Credit: National Park Service)

This is actually the first time in the park’s 10-year history of having heat and motion sensor cameras in which a black bear was spotted on tape.

According to the National Park Service, the Santa Monica Mountains have not had a resident bear population since the 1800s, when grizzlies were wiped out from California.

“Getting here wouldn’t be easy,” Moriarty said.

“From the Santa Susana or San Gabriel mountains where black bears have settled, we don’t know how exactly it got here, but he would’ve had to cross a couple of freeways, the 118 and the 101,” Moriarty added.

Experts warn that if you ever see a black bear, do not run; instead, look as big as possible and make sure the bear has a clear escape route.


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