Big Bear City, CA, July 14, 2010, 3:07pm – When they moved here over a year ago from the beach of Ventura, Mikie Jones and David Mazzeo encounters with wildlife were limited to what washed up at the beach. Now, living at Anita and Pioneer, they can add larger wild life to that list. Last night, after a BBQ, they heard noises on their front porch only to find an adolescent bear interested in what they had for dinner. But, as Mikie stated, “This is their home and we need to be cautious and take the necessary precautions to remove trash and pet food.” The California Department of Fish and Game couldn’t agree more as California’s wild animals fall victim to unnecessary conflict in search of human food and garbage. As recent sightings of bears and mountain lions have increased in the Big Bear Valley, we need to be respectful of the environment we live in. California’s wild animals are falling victim to unnecessary conflict and even death for a surprising reason – increasing access to human food and garbage. The problem seems to get worse every year, as California’s human population continues to grow and expand into wildlife habitat. In 2003, The Keep Me Wild campaign was launched by the California Department of Fish and Game to address the growing conflicts between black bears and people. Today the campaign provides tips for keeping deer, coyotes, mountain lions and wild turkeys away from your home, and advice on what to do if you encounter one of these wild animals can be found on their website at dfg.ca.gov/keepmewild. So what can you do if you encounter a bear? Firstly, don’t run. Face the animal and make noise trying to appear as large as possible. And, just when do you need to report a bear sighting? If an animal is a potential threat or appears aggressive, contact the Big Bear Sheriff’s Department at 866-0100.