A cinnamon-colored bear is visiting Mariposa before dawn to snatch scraps from trash cans, Mariposa residents say.
Since March 11, the local Sheriff's Office has received reports from Jones Street, 13th Street, Stoming Road and elsewhere.
With California's bear population on the rise, it might be time for residents to consider bear-resistant trash receptacles, wildlife biologist Tim Kroeker said.
"Bear populations can fluctuate, but in general, the bear population is rising statewide," said Kroeker, who works for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
"There does seem to be an increase in human-bear encounters," he added.
But for a bear to walk around town -- even at night -- is a bit out of the ordinary.
To deter bears, residents can secure their trash in a locked enclosure before disposing of it at the county refuse facility.
While the bear may rob some folks of sleep, it hasn't committed any serious crime, the wildlife biologist said.
"A bear that is just knocking over trash cans is not a problem bear," Kroeker said. "we don't issue (depredation) permits for that."
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