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Multiple residents report bear sighting in northwest Tucson

A bear was seen in a yard near Immaculate Heart High School on West Magee Road in Oro Valley on Wednesday. It has been seen wandering around neighborhoods this week.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is searching for a bear that has been spotted multiple times on the northwest side for the past few days.

The bear, which is about 2 to 3 years old, was first seen Wednesday around the Pima Wash area and made its way to West Ina and North Oracle roads. It was last seen on Thursday morning heading north at Linda Vista Trail.

The bear was seen Thursday morning near North Oracle Road and East Linda Vista Blvd., according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department. AZGFD advised residents in the area that items such as trash, outdoor pet food and bird feeders attract bears and sightings should be called into 623-236-7201. Video courtesy of AZGFD.

Mark Hart, the spokesman at the AZGFD, said that though wildlife officials extensively searched the area, the bear has not been found.

The goal is to tranquilize the bear and relocate it to a better place, Hart said.

“At this point, it hasn’t done anything that we would classify as dangerous behavior, it’s just in a bad spot,” Hart said. “In all probability, it’s just searching for food or other resources.”

Hart said this may be the same bear that was seen at Fort Lowell Park in May. He believes it may have previously found food and water and has returned to look for it again.

“Given the age of the bear, it may be that it’s separated from its mom and hasn’t established its own territory and is trying to figure it all out,” Hart said.

Bear and mountain lion sightings are usually seen in Tucson around May and June due to the heat and drought conditions. Hart called this sighting an “anomaly” since the sightings typically die down once the rain comes in.

AZGFD is asking the public to call them at (623) 236-7201 if they see the bear. Hart advises those who may see the bear to observe it from a safe distance.

If the bear approaches, Hart said to stand upright, face forward, wave your arms and make a lot of noise either by yelling or clapping. You can also throw objects that are readily available that don’t require you to bend down to get.

If the bear continues to approach you, Hart said to avoid looking it in its eyes and back away slowly while facing forward.

Hart also advises those in the area who have trash pickup day on Friday to not leave their trash out overnight. He said the trash is attractive for the bear and it will stick around. A video released by the agency shows the bear pawing through a trash can.

“We prefer the bear keep moving and return to mountains, that would be the best outcome,” Hart said.

Jamie Donnelly covers breaking news for the Arizona Daily Star. Contact her via e-mail at jdonnelly@tucson.com


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