Recently, a juvenile black bear has made a few appearances close to homes in Marin. Not surprisingly, this caused quite a stir but our friends at WildCare remind us that black bears are shy and absolutely prefer to avoid people. While awareness is important – it’s just as important not to panic.

If you see our wayward bruin, back away slowly and keep pets away. You can encourage the bear to move along by clapping or shouting loudly. We don’t want him to become accustomed to humans and lose his natural wariness, which can lead to conflicts.

While the knowledge that large animals, such as bears and mountain lions, live among us can be alarming, it’s important to remember that most wildlife want nothing to do with us pesky humans. Unless they’re unwell, they’ll almost always do what they can to avoid us. But if we’re near their young or do something foolish — like try to take a selfie or feed them — we’re asking for trouble. For us and the animal.

Although it’s exciting to see a bear in our midst, it’s important we encourage him to move along, primarily by removing access to food sources that might induce him to stay. Keep garbage contained and don’t put bins out until the morning of garbage day. Pick ripe fruit, and pick up fallen fruit. The California Department of Fish & Wildlife also strongly suggests removing bird feeders (bears love birdseed!) and cleaning your BBQ grill immediately after use.

Learn more about peaceful coexistence with wildlife.