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Bear named 'Oreo' roams Monrovia, Calif., in search of food -- and snags namesake cookies

Daniel Miller, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Whether it's bears, coyotes or mountain lions, there is a sense in many of L.A.'s hillside communities that something four-legged and feral lurks just beyond the asphalt and attached garages.

And on Canyon Crest Drive in Monrovia, Calif., the residents know that they live in bear country.

Their street is frequented by California black bears coming down from the San Gabriel Mountains to scavenge for food. And one apparently has a particular craving: Oreos.

On Saturday, the bear visited a property on the foothill cul-de-sac and left holding a package of the Nabisco cookies in its mouth, earning it the name "Oreo," KTLA reported.

Resident Vina Khoury told the television station that the animal's presence has been unnerving. "He's not just roaming around," she said. "He's actually going into the houses. So now, it's a very scary thing to leave a window open or your backyard door open or anything."

Sightings of the sweet-toothed Ursus americanus are almost ordinary on Canyon Crest, a stub of a suburban street dotted with swimming pools. The bear has also dined on a chocolate cake it found in a refrigerator at one house, KTLA reported.

 

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife did not immediately respond to an interview request.

As spring turns to summer, black bears are known to venture deeper into residential communities in search of food. Humans' endless encroachment on the natural habitat has led to an increase in encounters with the animals, omnivores especially adept at scavenging.

They may not be grizzlies — one hasn't been seen in California in 100 years — but black bears aren't always cute and cuddly. Hikers encountering a bear should avoid eye contact, make noise and back away slowly — while also making themselves look bigger, the state's fish and wildlife department counsels. ("Yell, clap, use a whistle," it says.)

"Most black bear 'attacks' are defensive actions if the animal is protecting cubs, becomes startled or scared," the agency notes. "In some cases, a food conditioned, or habituated bear may become too bold and act aggressively towards people."

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