UPDATE 4:57 p.m.: San Luis Obispo City biologist Freddy Otte says the three bears spotted near Bishop Peak on Wednesday morning were described as three large bears but were likely a mother and two 2-year-old cubs that have not yet separated from the mother.
Bears normally hibernate at this time of year but the unseasonably warm weather may have caused the animals' biological clocks to get out of sync, with the bears not knowing whether to forage or go back to sleep for another couple of months, Otte said.
Signs have been posted at the trail heads of to the Bishop Peak Nature Preserve, warning hikers of the possibility of encountering bears.
Original story: Three black bears were reported near Bishop Peak in San Luis Obispo on Wednesday morning.
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The sighting occurred near the Patricia Street trailhead to the Bishop Peak Natural Reserve, said Freddy Otte, city biologist. Otte recommends that anyone who encounters a bear in should not approach the animal but make as much noise as possible to encourage the bear to move on.
"Do not throw anything at the animals as we don’t want them injured," he said. "We want them to move back into the wild."