<b>Bears galore</b>

EDITOR: A rambling bear in the Wikiup neighborhood? Even old-timers can't remember many bears in Sonoma County. It seems there have always been a few bruins in our far north mountainous borderlands that join Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties, but those areas were always considered marginal habitat or peripheral bear country.

The fact is, for years bears were scarce enough in most of Sonoma County to be totally protected from sport harvesting (hunting) south of Highway 128 from the Pacific Ocean to the Napa Valley.

The old adage that the only thing that stays constant is change keeps ringing true. It's been well over 100 years since there were grizzly bears here. Now, however, North American black bears are coming on strong. They are well south of Highway 128, and it is surprising how many are living in our mountains and foothills.

Quite a few sightings, many trail camera photos and a lot of signs, such as bear tracks and bear scat — a lot of Sonoma County is truly becoming full-fledged bear country. It makes one wonder what is going to happen next. Perhaps the Wikiup bear is just a preview.