SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) – A black bear was spotted killing a goat in southwestern Solano County Tuesday night.
The animal attack happened at a farm in Birds Landing just west of Rio Vista.
Alondra Rivera told FOX40 she and her family could tell something was wrong with their goats around 10 p.m. at their family farm.
Her uncle came out with a flashlight thinking it was a coyote.
“There was a noise going on down here,” Rivera recalled. “Once he saw that the coyote didn’t run away or what it was, he saw that it was a bear.”
Rivera’s family was able capture video of the bear attacking one of their goats.
“And it dragged the goat with it while it was screaming,” Rivera said. “He couldn’t eat it, so I think he just like took out some organs, I don’t know, and he left it right there.”
The family quickly called the Solano County Sheriff’s Office, but deputies were unable to find the bear.
In their 14 years of living on their farm, the family said they’ve never seen a bear until that night.
Wildlife experts told FOX40 that as the state’s population grows, homes are pushing farther into bear habitat.
“They travel extremely far,” explained Dr. Jamie Sherman of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “In fact, I believe there’s been a black bear sighted in nearly every single county in California.”
At the same time, the state’s black bear population is also increasing. In the 1980s, their estimated population was around 10,000 to 15,000.
“And the most recent comprehensive estimate was back in 2016; estimated population of anywhere from 20 and 35,000,” Sherman said.
The drought in California may also be pushing bears out of the wild and toward water where there are more people.
Experts say bears will often stay where it’s easier to get food.
“They’ve been brought up in this urban environment,” explained Rebecca Barboza, a biologist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “They’re not going to retreat back into the forest where they have to forage for natural foods. They’re going to stay in the urban environment.”
But experts say bears have more to fear from us than we do from them.
“Really the best thing to do if you come into contact with a bear is to back away slowly and leave them be,” Sherman advised.
Fish and wildlife wardens will continue to search for the bear in Solano County.
The Rivera family told FOX40 they are now keeping their livestock in their barn at night.