DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) — A bear, caught on surveillance footage roaming around a West Davis neighborhood early Wednesday morning, had no concern for stay-at-home orders.
Wildlife Resource Specialist John McNerney spent much of the day searching for the bear near the West Davis pond, hoping to bring it to a more appropriate habitat in the foothills.
“A black bear in the Sacramento Valley floor is uncommon. My guess is this is a young bear wandering around looking for somewhere to call home,” McNerney told FOX40. “It’s going to find it’s pretty tough to make the Sacramento Valley its home because there’s just not a lot of food for it.“
Scientists say it’s a phenomenon that can be seen across the world: Wild animals traveling far from their typical habitats into cities and neighborhoods.
University of California, Davis Ecologist Fraser Shilling told FOX40 the COVID-19 lockdown likely played a role in attracting the bear to such a populated area because not as many people are driving.
“The fewer cars you have, the less noise you are going to have. And at night, you are going to have less light as well as noise. So overall, wildlife may be more attracted to areas that they otherwise would have been pushed away from,” explained Shilling.
From sheep outside a McDonald’s in Wales to wild goats roaming a Welsh town, Shilling says we can expect to see more animals traveling into our cities if neighbors continue staying at home.
“Wildlife are really put off by people. Part of that is how much racket we make, so there’s less of that inhibition to stay away,” said Shilling.
McNerney’s search for the bear turned up empty. He urges anyone who sees it to keep a safe distance.
“Just keep walking by, be cautious and give us a call,” said McNerney.
Early Sunday morning, the bear was struck by a car and killed on Highway 113 near Road 27, according to McNerney.
“We were hopeful we could capture and help it get back to safer habitat. It’s a sad and disappointing outcome,” McNerney told FOX40.
While bear sightings are rare in Davis, they have happened before.
In June of 2019, wildlife officers caught a bear on the UC Davis campus and released it back out into the wild.