The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has jurisdiction over all wildlife in California. Riverside County Department of Animal Services does not tranquilize, trap or capture healthy wildlife. If requested, we will respond to calls only to assess the situation and consult the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for any further action.
Black bears are the only bears local to Southern California. They are typically timid and nonaggressive, unless defending their young, and prefer to avoid people. But certain conditions can drive them towards humans. When bears become “food conditioned,” they will seek human food out instead of finding their own natural foods. Fires and droughts can also force bears and other wildlife further in their search for food and water.
What to do if you see a bear
The normal human reaction to encountering a bear is to freeze or run away, which actually sends the bear the wrong message; you need to let the bear know that it needs to leave! First, make sure the bear has a safe escape route. When you are a safe distance from the bear, make eye contact and yell at the bear. If you have bear spray, make sure you are upwind of the bear before using it.
Tips to discourage bears from visiting your property
- Do not put out trash cans the night before pick up.
- Store garbage cans in a garage or closed shed.
- Keep garbage cans clean. Deodorize and disinfect them with bleach or ammonia.
- Promptly collect fruit that falls from trees. Harvest fruit as soon as it’s ripe.
- Remove plants that attract bears, including dogwood.
- Eliminate bird feeders during spring and summer when there are natural foods available for birds.
- Eliminate compost piles.
- Keep barbecue grills clean and free of drippings.
- Consider purchasing bear spray and keep it next to your front and/or back door.