Arizona Game and Fish warns of wandering wildlife during drought conditions

The public is encouraged to learn about interactions with bears and other wildlife at: azgfd.gov/urbanwildlife. (Photo by Arianna Grainey)

Arizona Game and Fish Department warns residents of wandering wildlife during drought conditions after officers tranquilized and later euthanized an ear-tagged black bear found wandering an Anthem neighborhood this past weekend.

Deemed a public safety concern, this was the second time the young, adult male bear showed up in a developed community, according to a press release, noting the bear’s capture 10 days prior to this sighting in Prescott.

After the bear was fitted with an ear tag as a “nuisance bear,” he was transported to an approved bear release site in a remote area, the release added.

Since the bear was ear-tagged, relocated, and still ended up in an area of “human development,” — officials estimated the bear traveled about 40 or more miles to get to the Anthem neighborhood where it was removed — the bear’s abnormal behavior indicated that was a habitual and potential threat to people.

The release stated that euthanizing an animal is the last resort for Game and Fish, which estimates that this year could see an increase of wildlife coming in communities, campgrounds and other areas of human development because of drought conditions in Arizona until summer monsoon rains arrive.

The public is asked to report any nuisance bear activity to the department or local law enforcement, the release stated. Everyone leaving food and trash around may be luring a bear to its death as the cause of most human-bear conflicts involves unnatural food sources.

Once a bear starts associating humans with food sources such as unsecured trash, pet food and bird feeders, the chances for conflict and risk to public safety dramatically increase, the release said.

If encountering a bear, back away slowly to a safe place available. However, if a bear continues to approach, try scaring it away by making yourself look as large as possible, make loud noises, and throw objects at it.

Do not run but fight back aggressively and use bear spray in the rare event of a bear attack, said the release.

For more information or questions on living with wildlife, visit www.azgfd.gov/urbanwildlife.

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

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