Black bear killed on Lake County highway

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For the second time in less than two weeks, a black bear wandering Lake County roads by night was struck and killed by a motorist, the CHP said.

The latest incident occurred shortly before 3:30 a.m. Thursday when a pickup hit a bear on Highway 20 in the rural hills near Walker Ridge Road, about 15 miles east of Clearlake Oaks, CHP said.

A young bear was similarly struck early last week on Spruce Grove Road outside the community of Lower Lake, CHP Officer Kory Reynolds said. He could not remember the exact date.

There were no reports of human injury.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates about 35,000 black bears roam California, most of them active and hungry after months of dormancy.

One was seen by police wandering through the city of Healdsburg just a week ago, ambling right through the center of town before heading out east toward Fitch Mountain.

“They’ve had their young, and they’re out and about, and food sources are typically available to them this time of year, after the rains,” said Lesa Johnston, a state Fish and Wildlife education and outreach specialist.

Sonoma County animal tracker and naturalist Meghan Walla-Murphy said there remain questions about the degree to which last October’s fires may have dislocated resident bears, including any that lived in the Tubbs fire’s path through the Mayacamas mountains.

“The reality is bears are here in Sonoma County and, as we expand our population, I believe we are going to experience more and more bear-human interaction,” she said.

You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 707-521-5249 or On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.

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