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Monday, June 22, 2015

A Life in the Balance

We live in such a bountiful and beautiful area that I am awed by it daily.
If you know the area, the open space is plentiful. Fields of flowers can be enjoyed in solitude.
With the open space comes wildlife. I love the wildlife, and I strive to coexist peacefully with them. I try to learn as much as I can about each species to help me be a better steward for the wildlife. Through my trail cameras, I even "get to know" individual animals, like Tiny the Black Bear.
Last week, Tiny seemed to have a sow following him. It doesn't matter that she was a couple of days behind. She could still use his scent to track him down. This is how mating season for bears works - the males mark every tree they can find. The females evaluate the scents and decide which males to pursue. I don't know this female. She looks familiar but she's not a long-term local bear.
A bit further up the bear route, Tiny continued his walk, passing a tree that he'd marked six days earlier.
Here was his marking of the tree. He probably felt he didn't need to remark it on 6/15 because no other bears had marked it since him.
The female bear continued to follow, passing that same tree. I really hope that she caught up with Tiny!
There's been some unrest in our community. Homeowners are saying that a "huge bear" has been attacking their birdfeeders and even going into unlocked houses. If, indeed, it is a "huge bear" - it must be Tiny. Interestingly, we've had three bears visit our clearing but all were smaller bears - Tiny was not among them. Another interesting thing to note is that none of the reports include any aggressive behavior by a bear.

Since I've had trail cameras, I have the privilege of seeing Tiny just "being a bear" out in the forest. Knowing him through my cams makes me far more empathetic toward him. However, I'm not sure that my empathy for him would be well received by all.

I think that our community needs to put away all food sources, lock our doors, and thereby help the bears to survive. Indeed, I just learned that our wildlife officials no longer give a bear "one free strike". If a bear has done something "bad", a trap is put out. Whatever bear is caught in the trap is killed, regardless of whether they've ever been reported before.
(This is just one photo of another long bath Tiny took in the "secret pool" the other day. I hope to make a video from the footage soon.)

Let's all hope that the natural foods that bears love to eat ripen very soon. I think that our cold May slowed the development of their favorite foods, which led some bears to follow their noses to houses for food.

I sure hope that we get to watch Tiny for many more years to come. The life of a majestic animal hangs in the balance, and I hope our community does what it takes to let him live.


  1. i hope he stays clear of humans.

  2. We hope Tiny finds lots of good food away from people. We want to enjoy many more adventures with him.

  3. We are keeping our paws and fingers crossed that Tiny isn't the one doing the "bad" things. It's just ridiculous that people complain and yet continue to temp the bears with bird seed and unlocked doors. It's not the bear's fault they are curious.

  4. Wow. Even in L.A. county bears get more than one chance. Friends of mine in the area had a bear visit their property for several years. Finally the bear was re-located further into the forest. Paws crossed for Tiny.

  5. Could not agree with you more. I baffles me when people get upset when it is us who have invaded their territory. I love that you make every effort to peacefully exists with all the creatures. Why do people move to such a beautiful place then complain, get upset, and even advocate for the killing of such animals when they are being who they were created to be? I don't get it. Why live on a golf course then get upset when a few balls find their way to your yard or window? I hope people and officials listen to you and learn from you. It is possible to co-exist.

  6. Bears will go where they smell food. If that is a bird feeder or garbage can, who can blame them for trying to get a meal? Take the feeders inside and bear proof the cans. Keep garage doors closed. Those of us who live in semi-wilderness areas must learn to coexist. This isn't the zoo.

  7. We hope it is not Tiny, we agree with Michelle - if you live in their home you must be willing to coexist
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  8. I hope Tiny has a good season. :)

  9. Hope your community and the bears reach a compromise and can learn to co-exist peacefully. Sad to think of the bears being trapped and put down.

  10. We are also with Michelle....The bears were here first and we should make the effort to protect them from human influence.

  11. I agree. If he hasn't shown aggression to humans, then people should lock their houses when they leave and make their food inaccessible.

  12. I hope people learn to take responsibility for inviting wildlife to a high-food-value buffet. And stop doing it!
    My neighbor complained about Piper barking one night, and when I told her there had been a bear INSIDE my fence, she STILL blamed Piper (me, really) because "Oh I know all about the bear; he visits my birdfeeder. And YOU CHOOSE to live here." Meaning it's my fault if I have livestock taken by a bear, because the point is, my dog must not disturb her by ever barking at night, period.
    There is no talking sense with some people, really.
    But it makes me so angry that she complained to Animal Control about Piper being a "nuisance dog." This is also the neighbor whose own dog used to run loose and come over here to poop in my walkways Every Single Day. And when I finally said something to her, instead of apologizing and offering to at least clean up the poop, she suggested that I was trying to ruin her dog's quality of life.
    This person has a PhD and counsels people professionally.
    Sometimes it's tough living right next door to the Center of the Universe. And her birdfeeder.

  13. I so agree with you, it is breathtaking and so beautiful... I hope Tiny can find a lot of food soon, so it hasn't to go near bipeds and their houses...
    easy rider

  14. We hope that the natural foods ripen quickly and Tiny plays in his forest and stays away from the hoomans.

  15. It's sad when people want to move into animals environments and then want the animals removed! We hope the bears can get loads of natural food, too, to keep them away from humans.

  16. Wow, the one strike rule is very harsh. At the very least they could relocate a bear, instead of killing. How sad.

  17. That's a pretty aggressive and unfair rule - they should at least ensure it is the offending animal! I'm with you - I hope your neighbors 'bear' proof their land and that Tiny and all the others are safe.

  18. Seeing Tiny is amazing and we hope he keeps his distance from the trouble makers.

  19. Geeze even humans get more strikes than one, we only wish the best for Tiny. Stella Rose

  20. Tiny's size may be a big part of the problem too. People may see him and think he might attack so they want to be rid of him. I hope Tiny can avoid any trap, hard though it may be (filled with the very thing he wants.) He is a gorgeous guy and I hope he makes it. The "no strike" seems most unreasonable to me.

    Good luck saving the Big Guy!


  21. I hope with you. This is one of the reasons I rarely tell my neighbors when I spot something that doesn't "belong" in our neighborhood.

    My immediate next door neighbor likes to feed the raccoons, I've also seen fox down there is her back yard, and yet she freaked out when she heard we had a garter snake in our wood pile.

  22. We hope he's around there for a long, long time! He's a beautiful bear!

  23. It was the bears world first and humans moved into their world!
    I hope people care enough to do the right thing,,, put the food away,,,, stop tempting the bears,,, for Tinys sake, and all of his friends.


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