Black Bear, Our Neighborhood, Los Alamos, NM
One is pretty certain of catching glimpses of black bears while living in Los Alamos. They have visited my parents house and our house several times and are often relocated by the county if a particular bear becomes a nuisance. In the summer of 2011, the Las Conchas burned 150,000 acres in the forests around Los Alamos prompting a one week evacuation of the town. The town was saved but the forests were badly damaged. Wildlife sightings greatly increased in the months following the fire and bears became a common sight around town. I saw this bear raiding a trash can at our neighbor's house in the morning and managed to snap a few pictures from my car. She had her cub climb and stay safe in a ponderosa pine while she was checking out the trash. I never got a picture of mother or baby in the tree but the cub probably looked like this picture I took (Click). This was taken at Bandlier where this cub was eating acorns along the falls trail. It turns out bears also visit the pond at night. We got great shots of this large male taking a bath with Phototrap (Click) (Click) . Here is the full sequence of a slightly smaller (likely female) coming in for a bath (Bear Bath). On rare occasions, bears even come during the day to get a drink (Click) (Click). Since we have views of canyons from both our house and my parent's house, we occasionally see a bear on one of the trails. Here we saw a mother and cub walking. A jogger approached on the trail and luckily the bears simply got off to trail until the jogger left! (Click). In the summer of 2013 a large mother and cub even visited our backyard at 1800 Camino Redondo (Click).
In the summer of 2020, a mother bear with 3 very young cubs made their way to the pond. This was the first time since we started monitoring in 2011, that cubs came to the pond. Unfortuately, too many people left their trash unattended resutling in the mother bear repeatedly getting into trash and becoming habituated to people. Water is not a problem but leaving food is what gets bears into the trouble leading to the phrase: "a fed bear is a dead bear." Game and Fish took on the risky job of capturing the entire family. They had 7 vehicles on the job. They quickly captured the mother using traps and foods Mama bear couldn't resist. However, the babies were not captured which worried many in town. But through their hard work, a day later they tracked down the cubs two doors from our house. They kept Mama bear nearby so she could call to them. While the cubs were on their own, it was reported they were chased up a tree by the resident cougar showing how dangerous life becomes without Mom. Game and fish managed to relocate the entire family in the southern New Mexico in the Gila where rains had produced good food for bears. Relocating is always risky since the new territory could have males bears, etc. but the current situation was not teneable. We sincerely hope they do well in their new home and that Los Alamos mandates fines for trash that is not in bear proof trash cans. Here are the Game and Fish officers with the three cubs: (click). Here is a slideshow of the best Black Bear photos including a mother bear and 3 cubs that visited in the summer of 2020: (Slideshow).
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