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Close encounters of a bear kind

Mama bear and cub spotted in Loomis near Folsom Lake
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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A mama and baby black bear made a Loomis appearance Monday afternoon near Folsom Lake. “I was really excited,” said Del Oro High School senior Ryan Raynal, 18, who photographed the treed bear. Raynal was at the Folsom Lake Equestrian Center when a frightened woman on horseback reported that she had just seen a mother bear and her cub on a trail just 200 yards off of Lomida Lane. Raynal and equestrian center owner Jenny Jordan took a camera and went in search of the bear at around 4 p.m. “We were super-scared. We were afraid it would attack,” he said. The bear was located in a meadow off of a trail that departs from the lower equestrian staging area on Lomida, below Sterling Point. “We were 30 yards from the bear when she stood up on her hind legs and the cub climbed the tree,” Raynal said. According to Raynal, who lives in Loomis, the mother bear then hid behind the tree and “kept peeking out” at them. He said that after about 10 minutes, she, too, climbed the tree and made “huffing” noises. “She seemed scared. She didn’t show any signs that she would attack us,” Raynal said as he thought back on the encounter . Kyle Orr, a spokesperson for the California Department of Fish and Game, said that if a bear is sighted and there is a public safety threat, immediately call 911. Rich Preston, supervising ranger at Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, said that bears are not normally seen on the Loomis side of the lake. “This is the first time a bear has been seen in that area in the five years I’ve been here. That doesn’t surprise me. That’s part of their habitat, but the time of day is unusual,” he said. “Hopefully, she’s just passing through.” Orr said, “This time of year bears are out there foraging and the dryer winter causes a reduction in their food sources. They’ll wander in a larger home range.” During a bear encounter, Orr said that turning and running is the worst thing to do. He also said that if attacked the person must fight back. “Make noise and make yourself appear as large as possible,” he said. Orr said there are 30,000 wild black bears in California and that a mother protecting her cub could potentially be dangerous. Valerie Rathbone, who lives in the Sterling Point development, was shocked to hear of the nearby bear encounter. Rathbone and her husband, Stan, regularly run on the trails near Folsom Lake. “We were running on that trail with our dog this morning,” she said in disbelief. “That’s pretty freaky, there are houses all around there,” she said. Stephanie Freed lives in the Monte Serrano development off of Lomida near where the bears were seen. “I don’t want to get attacked, but I think it’s awesome. I feel like we’re in their house. That’s what I like about living here,” Freed said. Cheryl Stokes, of Loomis, has never seen bears in the area but said, “It’s exciting to know we can still live in this community with wild animals. This is proof that wild animals are out there. Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there.” For more information on black bears and precautionary measures go to: keepmewild.org IF YOU ENCOUNTER A BEAR Don’t run, or turn your back Face the bear Make noise Try to appear as large as possible Fight back if attacked Never approach Never pick up a cub Source: California Department of Fish and Game For a bear attack, call 911 To report a sighting, call Fish and Game (916) 445-0045 Or Placer County Animal Control (530) 886-5500