Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh was among those who had a black bear under surveillance Sunday evening in La Purisima Highlands. (Pat Walsh photo)

A bear was spotted Sunday evening near a Lompoc Valley neighborhood, according to Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh.

“So the answer is, ‘yes’ there are bears in Lompoc,” Walsh said via his Twitter account. He also posted a photo showing the animal from afar.

The critter was spotted about 7 p.m. near the La Purisima Highlands neighborhood, Walsh said.

The La Purisima Highlands neighborhood is at the northern edge of the city limits and sits above a closed drive-in theater.

A California Fish & Wildlife warden was en route to deal with the bear, Walsh added.

California’s black bear population has increased over the past 25 years, according to the state Fish & Wildlife data.

In 1982, California’s bear population was estimated to be between 10,000 and 15,000, officials said. Today, conservative estimates put the statewide black bear population between 25,000 and 30,000, the department’s website said.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Janene Scully | Noozhawk North County Editor

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com.