Environment & Science

Santa Monica Mountains' black bear may be the first seen in over a century

Camera traps picked up the presence of black bear in Malibu Creek State Park on July 26, 2016. There's no population of bears in the Santa Monica Mountains and it's rare for a bear to travel into those mountains.
Camera traps picked up the presence of black bear in Malibu Creek State Park on July 26, 2016. There's no population of bears in the Santa Monica Mountains and it's rare for a bear to travel into those mountains.
National Park Service
Camera traps picked up the presence of black bear in Malibu Creek State Park on July 26, 2016. There's no population of bears in the Santa Monica Mountains and it's rare for a bear to travel into those mountains.
Camera traps picked up the presence of black bear in Malibu Creek State Park on July 26, 2016. There's no population of bears in the Santa Monica Mountains and it's rare for a bear to travel into those mountains.
National Park Service


Cameras caught a black bear in Malibu Creek State Park in the Santa Monica Mountains. It's an unusual sighting, as the Santa Monicas haven't had a local bear population since the 1800s when grizzlies lived in the area.

The National Park Service's Zach Behrens says researchers spotted the black bear in pictures from National Park Service camera traps.

"It looks like the bear is just walking by the camera. Our camera traps are triggered by motion sensors, so when something goes by like a bear, it definitely would trigger that," Behrens says.

They don't know for sure where the bear came from, Behrens says. But black bears do live in the nearby Santa Susana and San Gabriel mountains — over on the north side of the 101 Freeway.

State parks district Superintendent Craig Sap says that if the bear decides to stay, "let's see what we can do to co-exist with it," according to the Associated Press.