In the serene expanse of the Santa Monica Mountains, a unique resident has recently caught the attention of both scientists and locals alike. A black bear, fondly named BB-12 by the biologists who have been closely observing him, has made history as the first of his kind to be captured and fitted with a collar in this region. His latest adventure? A midnight stroll along Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu.

BB-12, who is believed to be between 3 to 4 years old, has made this scenic beach his playground not once, but at least twice, according to the National Park Service. Evidence of his visits was confirmed by the paw prints he left in the sand, photographed and shared by the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

The use of a GPS-enabled collar, fitted by National Park Service biologists on April 23rd, allows them to monitor BB-12's movements with precision. Since being collared, BB-12 has embarked on quite the journey, crossing the 101 Freeway, Highway 23, and the 118 Freeway. He currently seems to have settled in the northern part of the Santa Susana Mountains, in proximity to other black bears.

Black Bear paw prints on beach malibu California

BB-12's presence in the area isn't a recent occurrence, though. For the past few years, a young black bear has been spotted in various locations across the Santa Monica Mountains, ranging from Malibu Creek State Park to the western edge in Point Mugu State Park. Based on these sightings and wildlife camera captures, biologists have reason to believe that this is the same bear, BB-12.

Black bears are known to live between 15 and 25 years, and have a diverse diet that includes fruit, insects, small animals, deer, and even leftovers found in trash cans. Despite their intimidating appearance, black bears are typically mild-mannered and rarely pose a threat to humans.

However, it's always important to maintain a respectful distance if you encounter a bear during your outdoor adventures. The National Park Service advises that you back away slowly and make some noise to alert the bear of your presence. If the bear approaches, try to appear larger by lifting and waving your arms, but avoid making direct eye contact. In the unlikely event that a bear makes contact, you should defend yourself.

BB-12's exploits have given us a rare and fascinating insight into the life of black bears in the Santa Monica Mountains. His story serves as a reminder of the diverse wildlife that shares our environment and the importance of co-existing harmoniously with these magnificent creatures.