Black bear caught on camera at Pismo Preserve. See photos of wild animals spotted there

·2 min read

Cameras in a 880-acre nature preserve near Pismo Beach captured photos of deer, bobcats, coyotes and even a bear this summer.

The Pismo Preserve, which opened to the public in January 2020, is located above Highway 101 in southern San Luis Obispo County.

The area where the cameras are located is at the back of the Preserve where humans are not permitted, Learning Among the Oaks founder and manager Beverly Gingg said.

“That back of the Preserve is truly a nature preserve,” Gingg said. “It’s an area where humans do not disturb the animals.”

The area is heavily wooded with coastal live oak trees, giving the wildlife room to roam without interference, Gingg said.

This is not the first time a black bear has been spotted in the Pismo Preserve, she said, although, “we don’t get bear sightings that often.”

The wildlife frequently visit the large trough of water the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County set out in the Preserve’ oak forest — deer, coyotes and plenty of wild fowl can be seen around the trough.

Camera project allows people see the animals in their own backyards

The cameras are managed by the Wildlife Camera Project, an environment education venture started in partnership with Cal Poly and the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County’s Learning Among the Oaks program, according to the program’s website.

When we started this project over 10 years ago with Cal Poly the idea was we want people to be more aware of wildlife in the oak woodlands,” Gingg said. “By having the cameras, we can let people see not just the bears and the mountain lions the badgers and other animals that people don’t realize live right around us.”

The Wildlife Camera Project has since expanded to four sites under the stewardship of the nonprofit Learning Among the Oaks program through the Land Conservancy, Gingg said.

In July 2016, three cameras were installed in the Pismo Preserve, with a fourth camera added in April 2017, the program website said. Three cameras are in use today.

Other sites with wildlife cameras are the Vineyard School Nature Trail in Templeton, which added cameras in 2019 and Santa Rita Ranch, which added them in 2021.

Since the cameras were initially installed in the Pismo Preserve, they’ve captured images of mountain lions, foxes, bobcats, skunk and plenty of deer at the Preserve, based on pictures in the archives.

However, the black bears are everyone’s favorite, Gingg said.

More bears are typically seen at the Santa Margarita Ranch property than at the Pismo Preserve, likely because it has more dense forest, giving the omnivore bears more food to eat, and is less trafficked by people, she said.

See a full gallery of photos of wild animals spotted at the Pismo Preserve at the Learning Among the Oaks website, https://bit.ly/LATOgallery.

A deer drinks water at the Pismo Preserve in San Luis Obispo County, California in July 2022.
A deer drinks water at the Pismo Preserve in San Luis Obispo County, California in July 2022.
A bobcat drinks water at the Pismo Preserve in San Luis Obispo County, California, in July 2022.
A bobcat drinks water at the Pismo Preserve in San Luis Obispo County, California, in July 2022.
A bear was spotted at the Pismo Preserve in San Luis Obispo County, California in July 2022.
A bear was spotted at the Pismo Preserve in San Luis Obispo County, California in July 2022.
A deer gets up close and personal with one of the cameras set up at the Pismo Preserve in San Luis Obispo County, California in July 2022.
A deer gets up close and personal with one of the cameras set up at the Pismo Preserve in San Luis Obispo County, California in July 2022.