Bear Spotted in San Rafael Suburb; How to Stay Safe

In the early hours of Tuesday, June 13th, an unusual visitor was spotted in San Rafael’s Terra Linda neighborhood. A house’s security camera captured images of a Black Bear rummaging through a side yard, sparking intrigue and concern among Marin County residents.

WildCare and Marin Humane have since urged residents not to panic at this unexpected sighting. Contrary to what some may believe, Black Bears are typically shy creatures. They generally prefer to avoid human interactions, and instances of Black Bear attacks are remarkably infrequent.

This particular bear is likely a young male exploring his world, a normal behavior during the months of May, June, and July.

How to Stay Safe

However, to ensure both human and wildlife safety, there are recommended precautionary measures to follow. The primary method to prevent bear encounters is removing possible food sources from your property.

This includes accessible garbage, pet food left outdoors, fallen fruit, and bird feeders. BBQ grills, which can lure in bears with their lingering scents, should also be thoroughly cleaned after each use.

Moreover, pet owners are advised to keep their pets indoors during nighttime hours. A bear’s nocturnal nature makes it more likely for pets left outside to encounter the bear.

If you do come face to face with our local bear, it’s crucial to stay calm and avoid sudden movements such as running or climbing a tree. Instead, slowly back away while making noise, like clapping or shouting, to encourage the bear to leave. It is also highly advisable to keep dogs on a leash while out, for the safety of both your pets and the wildlife.

Understandably, spotting a Black Bear in our region may be an exciting event, but please resist the temptation to follow the bear for a photo opportunity. Intruding on the bear’s space or allowing it to grow accustomed to humans could lessen its natural fear of people, experts at Wildcare say.

This could lead to future conflicts, almost invariably to the bear’s detriment. By removing food sources and maintaining a respectful distance, we can keep this bear safe and motivate it to move away from populated areas.

What to Do If You Spot the Bear

WildCare and Marin Humane are compiling sightings of the bear to track its movements. If you happen to see the bear, you’re encouraged to report your sighting to WildCare at 415-456-7283 or Marin Humane at 415-883-4621, providing them with the exact location of the sighting.

While we may be intrigued by the novelty of having a bear in our midst, our priority should be to ensure the safety of our community and the wildlife that unexpectedly visits. Make your homes and neighborhoods less attractive to bears by following the precautions mentioned. Additional information on coexisting with bears can be found at

In our shared space with the diverse wildlife of Marin County, it’s crucial that we respect and protect all creatures, including our rare Black Bear visitor. After all, we are part of the same ecosystem, and it’s up to us to maintain a balance that allows all inhabitants to thrive.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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