Young bear captured on Mt. Lemmon (WITH VIDEO)
MT. LEMMON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A yearling Black bear is on its way to Bearizona Wildlife Park in Williams after the Arizona Game and Fish Department captured it Friday night on Mt. Lemmon.
Game and Fish had issued warnings about the bear earlier in the day, after it was spotted along Organization Ridge, which is home to several youth campgrounds.
The bear was no longer afraid of people and was seen eight times over the summer. During that time, it followed hikers and tried to get into an occupied cabin, in addition to regular visits to the Organization Ridge area.
"We are fortunate to have found a new home for him," said Game and Fish Regional Supervisor Raul Vega in a media release. "That rarely is possible with common species like Black bears. ... So this story has a happy ending, but it could have gone another way. Young bears that seem dangerous grow up to be large bears that are aggressive."
Black bears usually avoid people but are attracted to human food and trash. Game and Fish advises that campers can be more "bear aware" by doing the following:
- Keeping a clean camp or picnic site.
- Stowing food, pet food, trash and picnic coolers out of sight and out of smell range of bears.
- Utilizing bear-proof food and trash receptacles where provided.
- Washing and stowing cooking utensils immediately following use.
- Not taking odorous items (toothpaste, lotions, etc.) or clothing used while cooking into tents.
- Keeping pets leashed.
- Avoiding contact with bears.
Visitors who see a bear in the distance should change their route to avoid contact, and if approached by a bear need to discourage contact by looking as large and imposing as possible. Another way to discourage contact is by making loud noises and waving arms, a jacket, or another item. Lastly, give the bear a chance to leave the area.
If the bear does not leave the area, Game and Fish officials advise staying calm, facing the bear and slowly backing away. DO NOT run or play dead; if attacked, officials say to fight back.
Bear sightings should be reported immediately to Arizona Game and Fish at (623) 236-7201, 24 hours a day, every day.
See the bear climb into its trap and later, shut the door on itself (video from Arizona Game and Fish Department):
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