Zero Tolerance Policy: AZGFD cracking down after complaints about wildlife in midtown neighborhood

(Source: Tucson News Now)
Updated: Oct. 23, 2018 at 8:35 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Concerns from the community over wildlife has the Arizona Game and Fish Department canvassing one midtown neighborhood.

Mark Hart, Public Information Officer for Arizona Game and Fish, said a public hearing last week about the high number of reported coyote and javelina sightings in the Catalina Vista neighborhood started the process.

“There are more than one little alleyways like this around here, so it’s perfect for the movement of wildlife through this community," said Hart, while he walked Tucson News Now through a corridor between homes Tuesday afternoon.

Hart and other members of the AZGFD staff canvassed the area Tuesday, in hopes of finding what could be attracting the animals to the area. We found javelina droppings and what appeared to be a coyote den down a small avenue between homes.

Lisa Adams has lived near what she calls the “super highway” for wildlife for more than twenty years.

“We live in the desert, and they are going to come find food and they are not necessarily mountain animals, they live down here in the low desert. It’s normal that they are here, you just have to keep your eyes open and be aware," said Adams.

AZGFD announced a a “zero tolerance policy” for wildlife feeding in the Catalina Vista neighborhood Tuesday. Unlawful feeding of wildlife is a petty offense in Pima, Pinal and Maricopa counties. The maximum penalty for violating ARS 13-2927 is a $300 fine.

“It’s not against the law to put your Halloween pumpkin out on the ground, but if wildlife gets into it, that’s an offense," said Hart.

Hart said if or when coyotes are found, Game and Fish plans to haze and deter coyotes with paintball guns.

“Paintballs are non-lethal, it’s approved by the humane society for use in hazing coyotes and it will sting. It leaves a welt on the human being, so that’s the extent of the injury, if any," said Hart. "But, it will also mark them with paint so we can get a better handle on how many coyotes we have here, which ones are a problem and how they are moving around.”

Anyone who observes wildlife feeding are asked to call the AZGFD Operation Game Thief Hotline at 800-352-0700, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tips can be submitted anonymously.

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