AZGFD: Bear activity up in southern Arizona

Published: Jun. 6, 2016 at 8:16 PM MST|Updated: Jun. 7, 2016 at 1:50 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A bear was spotted trying to get into a dumpster on Mount Lemmon Monday morning, according Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Karen Kartchner and Monique Farnum said the bear was spotted on Monday morning at a campsite on Mt. Lemmon.

"We were the first car that came in and we saw him by the dumpster. And we saw him turn around and as soon as he saw the car he ran off," Kartchner said.

They alerted the Arizona Game and Fish Department right away.  Then took all the precautions necessary.

"We need to make sure we know that our girls know that this is his (the bear's) home too. And to be aware and take certain precautions," Farnum said.

"We've been really careful so there are no smell-ables at all. Anywhere near their tents. Keep it all in the big lodge. And make everybody aware to make sure they always stay together as a pair," Kartchner said.

While this is bear is not considered a nuisance Mark Hart, with Arizona Game and Fish Department said it is important to make sure bears have no access to food.

"Once a bear gets used to human sourced food, it can be quite persistent in the efforts to get it," said Hart. "Including trying to get into cabins or tents or anything that is occupied by a human."

Hart said it is important to keep tents and cabins free of food, but also to make sure your clothes are free of scents as well.

"If you are cooking at your campground, make sure you change your clothes and wash thoroughly  because scene of the food you were cooking will remain on you when you go to bed in your tent," Hart said.

There has been an increase in bear activity in southern Arizona, according to Hart. He is asking everyone to be "bear aware."

An aggressive bear was spotted at a campsite at Parker Canyon Lake in Cochise County last week, prompting a closure of the campsite. The campsite is now back open and the bear euthanized.

A bear attacked a man at a campsite in Young, Arizona last week as well. That bear was also euthanized.

Hart said there is a zero tolerance policy for male bears who show signs of aggression. Female bears who become a nuisance will likely be relocated to another location.

Hart said the bears venture onto camp sites in search of food and water. He urges everyone to make sure trash is disposed of the in bear proof trash cans on Mt. Lemmon.

Anyone who spots a bear should call the Arizona Game and Fish Department at (623) 236-7201.

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