State officials are warning Tucson residents about a black bear roaming the northeast side.
The bear was first seen Tuesday afternoon near the intersection of North Soldier Trail and East Snyder Road by a woman driving her kids home from school. Since then, multiple residents reported seeing the bear, including three sightings Thursday morning, said Mark Hart, a spokesman for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
“The situation got more serious when it got in the vicinity of a school,” Hart said.
The bear was seen in the area of Collier Elementary, prompting the school administration to prohibit students from going outside, Hart said. The “soft lockdown” was lifted around noon Thursday when the bear moved away from the school in a northwesterly direction.
The bear appears to be young, somewhat thin, with a blond patch on its back, Hart said.
It is likely from the Catalina Mountains and could return there, he said. For now, Game and Fish officials are trying to track the bear. Anyone who sees the bear is asked to call (623) 236-7201 immediately.
Officials warn against approaching the bear. Stand your ground, wave your arms, yell and throw nonlethal objects. Residents should secure their garbage indoors, pick fruit from trees or off the ground, and secure bird feeders.
Another bear has been seen various times in recent weeks near Rio Rico, north of Nogales, Hart said.