Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run title=
Photo by Connie Gillies
27 Comments
Reads 10840

[Warning: This article contains graphic photos that may be disturbing to some.]


By Jeff Miller

Time may be running out for an orphaned black bear cub on the loose here after its mother was killed in a hit-and-run crash Friday night.

It happened on Ladera Lane near the intersection with East Valley Road. At about 8:30 on Friday the 13th, a nearby resident heard screeching tires, a thump, and an animal squeal. On investigating he met the driver of a car who said he had witnessed the collision and saw the impact vehicle drive away, leaving two bears behind on Ladera Lane, one curled in a fetal position. The witness said he called 911 and then watched the bears move off the road.

On Monday morning, passing motorist Connie Gillies saw turkey vultures at work in the empty lot at the corner of East Valley and Ladera and discovered the dead bear lying on its back, the left side of its rib cage completely exposed. Ms. Gillies reported the situation to Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, which notified Santa Barbara Fish and Wildlife. She also alerted Alys Martinez of KEYT and sent photos.

Word also reached wildlife biologist Dustin Pearce of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), who contacted Ms. Gillies and then visited the site Monday afternoon to investigate. There he found what appeared to be cub prints beside the dead adult female. After checking the terrain he loaded the presumed mother for transport to a DFW site in Lompoc for study. He also planned to check on “where communication failed,” and “why we weren’t notified” before Monday.


Photo by Connie Gillies

Gretchen Lieff of the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network voiced concern that the cub may have had no food or water since Friday night. If so, Pearce said it may start showing up in area backyards looking for food. Then, hopefully, it could be taken to a DFW site for rehab.

Locals call the empty lot at the corner of East Valley Road and Ladera Lane the “deer nursery,” because fauns are sometimes born and nurtured there. Ms. Gillies, a nature photographer, often stops and sees bobcats, deer, falcons, and red-tailed hawks. “Every time I’ve photographed animals here it’s shocked me how fast people drive on Ladera,” she said. “It was just a matter of time before a tragedy like this happened. Something needs to be done to protect our wildlife.”

Login to add Comments

27 Comments

Show Comments
sacjon May 18, 2022 11:22 AM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

Folks, regardless of your opinion of me, please be kind to animals and if you hit a bear, PLEASE call the Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, the police, and/or Wildlife Care Network. It's the right thing to do. If an animal is suffering, call someone. If its carcass is blocking the road, posing risk to others, call someone.

dogsnsand May 18, 2022 09:59 AM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

The Montecito Association sent out an email last night. If you spot the cubs, please take photos and call Dustin Pearce of California Fish and Wildlife at 562 343-3232 so they can relocate the cubs to an animal rehab facility.

Babycakes May 18, 2022 09:58 AM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

Animals being hit and killed by vehicles is all too common, and not much can be done about it for the most part. Was recently driving on the back roads of the Great American West and mid-west (CA/AZ/NV/UT/WY/MT/ND/SD/IA/MO/AR/etc.), and literally saw hundreds of dead animals that had been hit by cars: coyotes, skunks, armadillos, turtles, birds of all kinds, elk, pronghorn sheep, a moose, an otter (I'm pretty sure that's what it was...next to a big lake in AR), and plenty of "domestic" animals that had been hit and/or tossed out along the road....just awful! I don't believe anyone has a legal obligation to contact anyone if/when they hit an animal while driving. I know a bit about animals, and can tell you that an injured animal is a LOT more likely to attack you. No point in getting out of your car only to be mauled by a completely bonkers bear with a broken hip or cougar with injuries. Too bad for the bear and its baby, but these things happen each and every day.

edney May 18, 2022 09:37 AM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

From an incident in Tahoe. For information only, no opinion meant by me in posting this.

https://www.kctv5.com/2022/05/17/beloved-bear-euthanized-after-hit-and-run-california/
“The disrespect shown to him, and just leaving him lying alive on the side of the road like he’s nothing, that really hurt people,” Bryant said.

While Bear League calls the driver’s actions immoral, California Fish and Wildlife said the hit-and-run wasn’t illegal.

“There’s no legal requirement to stop and render aid to the injured animal,” Captain Patrick Foy with California Fish and Wildlife said. “In fact, we really go as far as recommending against approaching an injured animal.”

However, while he doesn’t recommend approaching the animal, Foy said the best thing to do is call 911 and wait for help to arrive, which didn’t happen in this case.

oops May 18, 2022 08:45 AM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

Wow, why all the hating?
Did the driver do anything illegal? Did the driver have a responsibility to wait at the scene? To report it to the police of DFG? .....I believe not.
It appears to be an unfortunate accident

Sail380 May 18, 2022 11:19 AM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

BIGUGLYSTICK I will also ask you the same question I asked SACJON.
What is your threshold for needing to involve the police, the DFW, Wildlife Care Network, anyone. Hitting a squirrel with baby's, skunk, armadillo? Maybe a little bigger animal like a fox, coyote, bobcat, deer? Does it need to be an apex predator like a bear or mountain lion?

My threshold is a domestic animal or livestock. Try and find the owner or leave a note.

The vehicle that hit the bear that hard will have significant damage. If the driver failed to follow the law it will be easy to track down.

sacjon May 18, 2022 11:09 AM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

VOICE - the witness " saw the impact vehicle drive away, leaving two bears behind on Ladera Lane, one curled in a fetal position." How is that simple sentence so hard for you to understand? Why do you keep fabricating scenarios that aren't supported by the words in the article?

Voice of Reason May 18, 2022 10:53 AM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

BigUgly, 1) how do you know they didn't report it? 2) the witness said the bears walked off, should the driver have stopped, gotten out of their car with a dangerous wounded animal nearby, with a cub no less, and followed the bears into the woods?

biguglystick May 18, 2022 10:33 AM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

OOPS, YES, the driver DID do something wrong!!! If you hit and kill a being, any being, you should stay and report it! I am so sick of humans thinking they are better than all other species out there. This mama bear had a life and a family and she didn't deserve this. DO BETTER. Be kind to ALL animals.

haskelslocal May 18, 2022 06:51 AM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

Individually and as a community let's all step up as this will only get worse over the summer. Every variety of animal is exposed. It is dry out there. Effectively zero rain for 3 months of peak rainy season. Let's encourage a plan be placed advocating animal safety and human awareness. Talk about it. Get it on the news everyday. Repeat over and over. How to handle animal encounters. Heightened expectations for roadway encroachment. Prepare to protect and nourish the wildlife. Coexistence with assistance. Unordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Maybe "normally" we're able to get along by ignoring and staying separate from how the animals live and forage for food. Yet this is setting up to be a crisis. We need to help where we can or accept the slow unraveling of the current ecosystem.

lovesbalot May 17, 2022 12:31 PM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

Sacjon is just expressing her disgust, a feeling shared by many of us. This bear could have been humanely euthanized and the cub could have been found and supported. Must have been driving way too fast especially for that country road. Tragic and cowardly to leave the scene.

sacjon May 18, 2022 11:19 AM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

SAIL - good question. So, if it's large enough that it poses a threat to other drivers, I would call the police or DFW. If it were alive and suffering (regardless of size/species), I would call DFW or Wildlife Care Network to handle it. If it were clearly dead, as I say above, I'd call the police or DFW to remove the carcass so it doesn't cause an accident. This driver fled while the bear was lying in the road. I think that's wrong and kind of sick to do. Apparently, many here are losing their collective minds over my opinion about how to handle this.

Sail380 May 18, 2022 11:13 AM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

SACJON What is your threshold for needing to involve the police, the DFW, Wildlife Care Network, anyone. Hitting a squirrel with baby's, skunk, armadillo? Maybe a little bigger animal like a fox, coyote, bobcat, deer? Does it need to be an apex predator like a bear or mountain lion?

My threshold is a domestic animal or livestock. Try and find the owner or leave a note.

The vehicle that hit the bear that hard will have significant damage. If the driver failed to follow the law it will be easy to track down.

OGSB May 18, 2022 10:42 AM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

Yeah, make a call. It's not hard and you don't need to put yourself in danger. Unfortunately, someone did immediately call and this is still the result! Also, this is not NorCal in the mountains where it does happen all the time. This is sort of a neighborhood where wildlife is being pushed into, due to drought.

biguglystick May 18, 2022 10:37 AM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

NO ONE is "spreading hate" but the people that are saying the driver did nothing wrong. That driver should have called someone. Police, SB wildlife Care network, the Humane Society.... ANYONE. But leaving the scene like that is reprehensible and heinous. SHAME on that driver!

letmego May 18, 2022 10:14 AM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

I'm not sure that I would know to call someone, tbh. I grew up in a rural area where hitting deer with your car was unfortunately very common. If they moved off the road, you kept on driving (if you could). Hitting bears happened too, plenty of bears in my hometown also.

sacjon May 18, 2022 09:16 AM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

Wait..... 3 people disagree with stopping and calling the cops or DFW if they hit a bear and it's baby with their car? Sad to see this kind of callousness here.

sacjon May 18, 2022 08:04 AM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

SAIL - what you do is stop and call the police, the DFW, Wildlife Care Network, anyone. You don't just drive away leaving 2 bears lying on a public road after you hit them. No one is saying to get close to them.

Sail380 May 17, 2022 06:00 PM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

I don't like it either but what are you to do. 2 things I know are bad, getting in between a mama bear and her cub . Potently worse is getting between and injured mama bear and her cub. Even mortally wounded it is against the law to put it out of its misery unless you are a licensed hunter, in hunting season with a valid bear tag. Otherwise it is considered poaching.

sacjon May 17, 2022 12:18 PM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

"Spread hate?" Seriously? Being upset is not spreading hate. Hoping for bad karma is simply that - not wishing them to suffer an accident. If I meant that, I sure wouldn't have just said "karma." Look up the word, it will help you.

No ambulance for wild animals? So what? Let's just maim them and let them suffer? Call DFW, call Wildlife Defense Network, call a vet! You hit a large mammal, you stop and try to get it help. This bear's child is wandering lost without it's mother. You think eh, just drive on. WTH is wrong with you?

a-1652814113 May 17, 2022 12:01 PM
Black Bear Cub Orphaned by Montecito Hit and Run

No need to spread hate and wish ill will on others for an accident. What were they supposed to do, put her out of her misery? There is no ambulance service for wild animals.

Please Login or Register to comment on this.