Fontana Police in Helicopter Report Spotting 2 Bears in East Redlands Hills

Fontana police were assisting sheriff's deputies on an unspecified call near Wabash Avenue and Reservoir Road 'early Wednesday morning.'

Fontana police in a helicopter claim they spotted two bears early Wednesday in the hills of east Redlands, near Wabash and Interstate 10, a city spokesman said.

It was not immediately clear what time the airborne officers believed they spotted the bears.

City spokesman Carl Baker said the incident occurred while Fontana police were assisting sheriff's deputies on an unspecified call near Wabash Avenue and Reservoir Road "early Wednesday morning."

Fontana police reported "they spotted the animals on a hillside about 100 yards east of Wabash Avenue," Baker said.

Asked for photos of the bears from the Fontana police sighting, Baker said there were no photos he was aware of.

Asked when the last time anyone spotted a bear in Redlands, Baker responded, "I don't know when the last time was, but they have been seen before. They have never presented a threat to people here."

As a precaution, Redlands police issued a statement with an extensive list of tips for residents.

"Wildlife officials warn residents to exercise caution when traveling in areas frequented by bears or where bears have been spotted," the statement said. "If you are hiking, avoid surprising bears. Talk loudly or make noise and, if possible, travel in groups."

Additional tips issued by Redlands PD:

  • Keep in mind that bears tend to be more active at dawn and dusk so plan your hikes accordingly.
  • Stay on marked trails and obey the regulations of the area you're hiking in.
  • Keep an eye out for tracks, scat, digs, and trees that bears have rubbed.
  • Stay on marked trails and keep dogs on a leash.

If You Encounter a Bear…

  • Remain calm and avoid sudden movements.
  • Give the bear plenty of room, allowing it to continue its activities undisturbed. If it changes its behavior, you're too close so back away.
  • If you see a bear but the bear doesn't see you, detour quickly and quietly.
  • If a bear spots you, try to get its attention while it is still farther away. You want it to know you're human so talk in a normal voice and waive your arms.
  • Remember that a standing bear is not always a sign of aggression. Many times, bears will stand to get a better view.
  • Throw something onto the ground (like your camera) if the bear pursues you, as it may be distracted by this and allow you to escape.
  • Never feed or throw food to a bear.

If a Bear Charges…

  • Remember that many bears charge as a bluff. They may run, then veer off or stop abruptly. Stand your ground until the bear stops, then slowly back away.
  • Never run from a bear! They will chase you and bears can run faster than 30 mph.
  • Don't run towards or climb a tree. Black bears can climb trees, and many bear will be provoked to chase you if they see you climbing.
  • If you have pepper spray, be sure that you have trained with it before using it during an attack.

If a Bear Attacks…

  • Be loud, wave your arms, and stand your ground.
  • Fight back! Be aggressive and use any object you have.
  • Only if you are sure the bear attacking is a mother who is protecting its cubs, play dead.
  • If you have pepper spray, use it. Begin spraying when it's within 40 feet so it runs into the fog. Aim for the face.

Anyone who spots a bear or other wildlife was urged to call Redlands Animal Control at (909) 798-7644 or Redlands Police Dispatch at (909) 798-7681.

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