PHOENIX — Arizona Game and Fish Department officers this morning tranquilized and later euthanized an ear-tagged black bear that had been reported wandering around an Anthem neighborhood since Sunday night and was deemed a public safety concern.
This was the second time the young adult male bear had shown up in a developed community. The bear was captured 10 days ago in the Prescott area, was fitted with an ear tag as a nuisance bear and released at an approved bear release site in a remote area. Officials estimate the bear traveled 40 miles or more to get to the Anthem neighborhood where it was removed today.
Euthanizing an animal is the last thing the department wants to do, but in this case the fact the bear had been ear-tagged, relocated, and once again ended up in an area of human development (abnormal behavior for a bear) indicated it was habituated and a potential threat to people.
Because of drought conditions in Arizona, Game and Fish estimates that this year could see increased instances of wildlife coming into communities, campgrounds and other areas of human development until summer monsoon rains arrive.
Game and Fish asks the public to report any nuisance bear activity to the department or local law enforcement. The department also reminds everyone that leaving food and trash around may be luring a bear to its death. 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.
If you encounter a bear, back away slowly to a place of safety, if available. If a bear continues to approach, try to scare it away by making yourself look as large as possible, making loud noises, and throwing objects at it. Do not run. In the rare event of a bear attack, fight back aggressively and use bear spray.
For more information or questions on living with bears and keeping wildlife wild, visit the department’s website at www.azgfd.gov/urbanwildlife.