MONTEREY, Calif. (KION) Several neighbors have caught a young black bear lurking around their backyards at the Oak Tree neighborhood under Jacks Peak County Park over the weekend.
The bear can be seen sniffing around yard equipment and eating little lemons in cell phone video captured by multiple residents.
The fuzzy four-legged food finder, who likely came from the Los Padres National Forest, according to experts, decided to take the scenic route in search of a snack.
"It is a little startling to see a bear through your window. But better than in the house," said Tami Cripe, one of the residents who saw the bear in her yard.
On Saturday, Tami Cripe and her neighbors saw the bear along the back wall at first, making its way through the yards, stealing fruit before disappearing. Four or five hours later, it came back.
"I have a window that overlooks my backyard and I had walked into my kitchen and there was the bear in my backyard," said Cripe.
"When he was in here, there must have been 15 people standing here watching him go. Everybody was enthralled," said Linda Agrati, another neighbor in the area.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife's local office says the bear was first seen south of Carmel Valley last week before popping up near Jacks Peak. Another report had a bear spotted east of Marina over the weekend as well.
Experts say the black bear is likely a young male and could be looking for a new home. These scavengers could run into garbage for food, which creates a nuisance for neighborhoods if it becomes a habit.
Officials say it is important for residents not to leave out garbage until the day it is going to get picked up.
"The bear yard-hopped all the way down the street probably six or seven yards, and every neighbor got their own picture," said Cripe. "Bear visited the yards, stole fruit, left, came back, went all the way down. The game wardens came out, could not find the bear."
If the animal does start causing a lot of problems, Fish and Wildlife could tranquilize it and send it home. But they are hoping the bear will simply go back to the forest on its own soon.
"We don't want them to approach the bear, we don't want them to feed the bear because we don't want him to stay around, we want him to back to the wild where he belongs," said Jeff Cann, a CDFW wildlife biologist.
"Yeah, it was kind of exciting. We know we're living in their playground, so…," said Agrati.
At this point, Fish and Wildlife do not know the exact location of the bear. It is important to call them if you do come across it.
For more information on black bears and other wild animals, click here.
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The resident, Jackie Hamilton, said she lives in the Oak Tree neighborhood under Jacks Peak.
Hamilton said she got a call from a neighbor, who said the bear was entering her property. Hamilton said the bear knocked over a watering can and drank water before eating lemons from their lemon tree, but she said the bear also went to one neighbor's sliding glass door.
Hamilton said the called the Monterey County Sheriff's Office, who sent Fish and Game. She said they are monitoring the bear and hoping it goes back into the forest, but believes it's out looking for food.
The bear is believed to be a young male.