Be Bear Aware!

Be Bear Aware!

On June 13, 2023, security cameras on a house in San Rafael’s Terra Linda area captured images of a Black Bear nosing through clutter in a side yard. A few days later, a mother bear and cubs were sighted in Novato. Clearly Black Bears have become part of Marin's wildlife landscape!

Seeing a Black Bear in a populated area of Marin County warrants raised awareness and some common-sense precautions, but WildCare urges residents not to panic. Black Bears are shy animals that prefer to avoid people, and Black Bear attacks are extremely rare.

The best way to prevent bear encounters is to remove food sources, including accessible garbage, pet food left outside, fallen fruit and bird feeders. Barbecue grills also offer a tempting treat to bears, so please thoroughly clean your grill. Pets should never be left alone outside at night.

In the event that you encounter the bear, stay calm, do not run or climb a tree, and back away slowly. You can encourage the bear to move along by making noises like clapping or yelling. A Black Bear will prefer to exit the scene without confronting humans or our pets, but keeping dogs on leash is always a good idea to help both dogs and wildlife stay safe.

Please don’t follow the bear for a photo or otherwise intrude in the bear’s space. Allowing the bear to become accustomed to humans will reduce his natural wariness of people, and lead to conflicts, almost always to the detriment of the bear. Removing food sources and staying away from the bear will keep him safe and alive, so let the animal’s natural fear of people encourage him to leave our area.

WildCare and Marin Humane are collecting sightings of the bear. If you see the bear please call WildCare (415-456-7283) or Marin Humane (415-883-4621) with exact location information.

This bear, likely a juvenile male and alone, is probably moving through our region in search of both food and a mate. May, June and July are the typical months for juvenile bears to leave their natal territory and strike out on their own in search of space to call their own.

Since he’s such a rarity, this bear is not likely to find a mate in our area, but, without vigilance on the part of Marin residents, this bear could certainly find a smorgasbord of good, and easily accessible food sources, and this could encourage him to stay local.

It’s incumbent upon us to make our homes and neighborhoods less attractive to bears and other wildlife to prevent habituation and the conflicts that come with it:

  1. Secure garbage, recycling and compost bin lids tightly, and ideally only put garbage outside the morning of pickup instead of the night before.
  2. Clean barbecue grills thoroughly and ideally keep them in a closed garage when not in use.
  3. Do not feed pets outside. Bring any pet food inside.
  4. Pick up fallen fruit.
  5. Recognize that birdseed is a tasty treat to a bear and consider removing bird feeders when bears are sighted in your area. Sweep up fallen seed under your birdfeeder to remove it as a food source for bears, and also to discourage rodents that attract other wildlife.
  6. Keep pets indoors at night.

For additional information on living with bears, visit