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Bears bear down on Tucson

Two black bears recently paid a visit to some Foothills backyards. While it was not reported whether or not the bears used any area pools, Arizona Game and Fish officials did say folks should take caution.

Wildlife officials ask those in north Tucson to be ‘Bear Aware,’ Arizona Game and Fish news release

Tucson Regional Supervisor Leonard Ordway said the north Tucson area adjacent to the foothills of the Catalina Mountains is not typically bear country, but is within a short distance away from more typical bear country in the Catalinas. Bears can cover vast distances in a short period of time.

Ordway explained that biologists recognize that it is not possible to simply capture and relocate an animal that presents a public safety threat, such as an adult male bear. “If it is a threat in Tucson, it will still be a threat wherever else we might place the animal. We just don’t have vast areas of black bear habitat devoid of humans or other bears – it simply doesn’t exist,” he said.

More info: www.gf.state.az.us/


Some quick tips will insure mauling, mutilation, future visits and possible death from the burly beasts:

• Leave your yard strewn with rotting garbage, open food containers and deer carcasses

• Walk alone, at night, and through areas where you know bears are sure to roam

• Feed them. Better yet, hand feed them bloody raw meat

• If confronted by a bear, scream like a wounded animal and start to run

• Position yourself between a female bear and her cubs

ANOTHER DISCLAIMER Seriously, please know the above tips are a joke. If you try them and get killed, we will not be held responsible.

The real tips appear below.

Wildlife safety tips

• Never intentionally feed wildlife. Even birds feeders can become attractants for larger unwanted animals if they are not handled properly to prevent spillage on the ground.

• Secure all garbage.

• Walk or jog in groups. Pay attention to your surroundings when hiking, jogging or bicycling.

• Supervise your children (especially toddlers) and keep them in sight at all times.

• Keep your pets on a leash – don’t allow them to be free roaming. Pets can easily get into conflicts with a wide range of wildlife from skunks to coyotes.

• Don’t leave pet food out where wild animals can get at it.

• If you have fruit or citrus trees, harvest ripened fruit and don’t let fruit collect on the ground.

• Trim the vegetation around your home to eliminate hiding cover for all wildlife.

What to do if you encounter a bear

• Don’t run. Running elicits what is called a predator-prey response – if you run, the animal might instinctively want to chase and catch you. Despite their imposing size, bears are quick and can reach speeds of 40 mph.

• Stay calm.

• Continue facing it, and slowly back away.

• Try making yourself look as big and imposing as possible; put young children on your shoulders.

• Speak loudly or yell and let it know you are human (don’t scream).

• Make loud noises by clanging pans, using air horns, or whatever is available.

• If attacked, fight back.

• Never get between a female bear and her cubs.

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