On Wednesday, July 29, a black bear that had been roaming around north Upland for the last couple of months, occasionally taking a dip in a backyard swimming pool, was shot and killed by a San Bernardino deputy sheriff on 24th St., up near San Antonio Heights.
This neighborhood is in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, bordering Los Angeles County, and right at the base of Mt. Baldy.
Not exactly a real rural area. but with the feel of being out in the country, and with a wonderful, panoramic view south of the Pomona Valley.
Lots of nice homes and good kids. And just down the hill a bit is a sprawl of apartments with fast food restaurants and convenience stores and busy streets, including the famous Route 66, aka Foothill Blvd.
The relatively new 210 Freeway is a wide concrete river roaring with traffic 24/7 only a few blocks south of where this bear met his tragic end.
Reading about this incident in the Daily Bulletin broke my heart.
Here’s an excerpt from the article, an eye-witness account:
“Don Caldwell, who lives a couple doors down from where the bear laid to rest, witnessed much of the incident from his driveway.
Caldwell said he saw the bear running away from the sheriff’s vehicle.
The deputy ‘took a shot at the cub and laid him down in his tracks,’ Caldwell said. ‘The bear was screaming and yelping and crying.’
The bear was shot two more times, Caldwell said.
‘I think (the deputy) had paused in between shootings and I could see he was thinking about what he was doing,’ Caldwell said. ‘I didn’t talk to the officer after that because I was highly upset.’ ”
Why did the bear have to die? I can understand if it was a gang-banger wandering up from Pomona bent on mayhem and murder or a tweeker burglar desperate for dope money or some other form of human trash–white, black, brown or purple. God knows we have plenty of those throw-away people.
To be fair, the newspaper article does say that this bear, whom some in the neighborhood nicknamed “Boo-Boo,” had been tranquilized back in June and taken 15 miles back in the San Bernardino Mountains and released. And there are children playing all over the place.
Guess the garbage can delicatessens and cool, inviting swimming pools of San Antonio Heights were irresistible, and BooBoo returned to where life was good.
It is a great place to live. You can have a sort of rural lifestyle, with all the convenience and luxuries of the suburbs and big city (LA) within an easy drive, or even a train-ride on Metro-Link. There’s a train station in downtown Upland and another a few miles west in Montclair, off Central Ave. (That’s near where I live).
My parents bought a home in 1972 just south of San Antonio Heights on North Laurel Ave., just above 19th St. We lived there for twenty-five years. My little sisters, Margie and Mary, who are all grown up now, have their names written in the cement near the backyard gate, along with the date “1972,” I think.
When my family first moved to north Upland from Pomona [lots of people fled Pomona in the late ’60s and early 70s as the demographics in Pomona changed], our home was surrounded by lemon tree groves– a sea of trees, more trees than people at that time in Upland. We saw lots of coyotes, squirrels, owls and hawks, but never any bears that I can recall.
This incident with the poor bear’s killing, it just proves my point in a posting on this blog, Monkey Business. That post, about my encounters with wild animals in travels through Central America, ends with this…
People and wild animals don’t mix. We don’t understand them, nor they us. We take it personal when they try to suck our blood, or eat us, or take our property.
But the animals, like some Mafia hit man, will tell you, “Hey, it’s nothing personal. It’s just business.”
For follow up on the newspaper article on BooBoo’s demise, see comments.