County: Be Bear Aware

Los Alamos County has announced that there have been reports of bear sightings around town. Photo Courtesy LAC


There have been reports of bear sightings around town—be Bear Aware! Black bears are large, powerful animals and weigh over 200 pounds. A “black” bear can be colored jet black to cinnamon to blonde. They have pointed noses and highset ears. Claws are long, sharp and curved, allowing them to climb trees. Feeding on both plants and animals and being opportunistic, the black bear has a diet which varies according to seasonal availability of foods.

Forested areas of Los Alamos County are populated by black bears, and it is not uncommon to find them around the mountain campgrounds, and even near town. They need woodland cover, as they are shy animals, so mixed forest with food-producing trees such as oak or piñon, are common.

Here are some tips in case you encounter a black bear:

1. Identify yourself by talking calmly;
2. Stay calm;
3. Pick up small children;
4. Travel/stay in a group;
5. Make yourself appear aslarge as possible;
6. Move away slowly and sideways and leave the area;
7. Do not run;
8. Be cautious of a female with cubs.

If you choose to live in bear country, make sure that you do not contribute to their becoming a problem. Most bears with residential areas within their habitat do not cause any damage. If a bear doesn’t find abundant food, it will move on. To reduce the risk, we urge you to follow these simple precautions:

1. Closely supervise children;
2. Structure landscapes so that it eliminates hiding cover for predators;
3. Install outside lighting, preferably with motion sensors;
4. Close off open spaces below porches and decks;
5. Do not plant non-native shrubs;
6. Bring pets in at night;
7. Store all garbage securely.