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UNUSUAL BEAR SIGHTINGS: Several bears reported in residential areas

Published: May. 28, 2022 at 9:58 PM MST|Updated: May. 28, 2022 at 10:00 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A number of unusual bear sightings in residential areas is causing concern.

Arizona Game and Fish says they expect June to be a very active month for bear sightings. Over the last week, bears have been reported in the area near Fort Lowell Park and in Oro Valley.

“I’ve lived in this house for 18 years and I’ve never seen a bear. Coyotes and javelina every morning, but never a bear,” Oro Valley resident Gladys Espineira said.

She couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw what her doorbell camera picked up one morning, just minutes before one of her roommates was leaving for work. A young bear walking in front of her door and taking a look around before heading back into the wash near her home.

“It showed me a screenshot at first. I thought it was and I thought it was a dog, like a big do. I opened it and then I saw, oh my gosh, that’s a bear,” she said. “It was scary. It was pretty scary.”

As a dog owner, this bear sighting made her a little concerned for her pets, but thankfully they were all inside the house at the time.

This isn’t the only bear making it’s way into town. There’s been at least six sightings in populated areas reported over the last week.

“To get bear sightings is not unusual for an area with so much wild country, but when bears start getting into populated areas, it’s cause for concern,” Mark Hart with Arizona Game and Fish said.

He says these unusual sightings are driven by a lack of resources in the bears’ habitat due to the heat and drought. Once monsoon hits, they expect the bears to stick to higher elevation. But until then, they’re asking residents to do what they can to keep the bears away.

“If there’s a bear around, there’s a whole list of things you could do, like not taking your garbage out until the day of pick up, taking down your hummingbird feeders, police up fruit falling from trees because if there are attractants around the bears are going to stick around,” Hart said.

If you see a bear in a populated area, you’re asked to contact Game and Fish at (623)-236-7201.

You can also find more information on how to protect yourself and your home from bears at bearwise.org.

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