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Bear joins in impromptu pool party in LA

A wild bear left its habitat in the California mountains and gatecrashed a family party in a Los Angeles suburb, taking a dip in their swimming pool.

The 140lb (63 kg) adult, female bear wandered out of the Santa Susana mountains, in California, and into the garden of Maryam Salahael's home in San Fernando Valley.

Ms Salahael's children were swimming in the pool when the bear arrived at the house on Sunday evening. They were quickly pulled out but while she called the authorities, the bear jumped into the pool. "My dog began barking very loudly. I went to see what's going on. I see a bear in my backyard," Ms Salahael told local television.

Fire authorities cordoned off the area and the bear was taken from Ms Salahael's home after being tranquillised. She was then taken back to her natural habitat.

"It looks like she's possibly in heat," said Cindy Wood of the California Department of Fish and Game. "She probably just made a wrong turn and ended up in a neighborhood."

North American bears have become increasingly confident about entering urban areas, with some suffering obesity problems as a result of eating fatty foods from rubbish bins.