Seven javelina euthanized in neighborhood on Tucson's east side - Tucson News Now

Javelina herd "hunted" down in Tucson neighborhood following vicious attack

Javelinas become so accustomed to eating out of garbage cans that they starve to death when captured and released in the wild. Javelinas become so accustomed to eating out of garbage cans that they starve to death when captured and released in the wild.
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

They are a symbol of the desert southwest, but javelina have worn out their welcome in a local neighborhood.

State Game and Fish officials say the euthanization of seven animals should take care of a problem javelina herd on Tucson's far east side.

The elimination comes one week after a woman was attacked and injured in the neighborhood near Speedway and Wilmot.

It's a neighborhood where people see lots of wildlife, including bobcats, coyotes, hawks and the occasional mountain lion.

People are used to it. Many love it.

But when a herd of javelinas started chasing people and finally attacked, it was too much.

"She's getting better, but she still has a lot of pain in the major wound. Just today it seems a little better."

Javelina attacked Bruce Cobb's wife, Emelia Arana, one week ago.

It happened just a few feet from their front door in an east side neighborhood.

Three javelina knocked her down and she suffered serious bites before she could get away.

"She managed to jump up and escape," Cobb said. "It was close to being a miracle, I guess."

Arana had to have stitches and is undergoing rabies treatment.

New Information on How the Javelina Were Euthanized

Mark Hart, spokesman for the Arizona Game and Fish Department says, the United States Department of Agriculture sent three wildlife managers to work with state officials. They let all the neighbors know, and the Tucson Police Department, how the operation would go down.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the wildlife officers, all marksmen, basically conducted an "urban" hunt for the aggressive herd of javelina. Within two hours they euthanized seven adult javelina in the couple's neighborhood with long rifles complete with silencers.

Hart says three younger javelina that were thought not to be part of the attack were not killed.
Cobb says he and his wife understand, but wish the javelina could have been saved.

"We both feel the same, very sad," Cobb said.

Arizona Game and Fish says relocation was not an option.

"If this particular herd came in contact with humans, someone else could've been hurt," said Hart adding there are other issues that made euthanasia the most humane option.

The javelina had become so accustomed to humans that even the federal wildlife managers were surprised what happened when the first one was shot. Hart says the pack didn't scatter, an indication just how used they were to people.

Hart say relocating the herd was not an option because the animals wouldn't know how to find food because they'd become so dependant on rummaging through trash to eat.

Relocated animals can die terrible deaths because they are in unfamiliar habitat.    

"Herds fragment and are more vulnerable to predators, and this group has become accustomed to eating garbage and would be looking for that in this unfamiliar and wild environment."

Hart says there are things you can do if you want to keep wild animals, like javelina, away in order to keep you and them safer.

"If javelina are in your community and loitering around your back lot, spray them with the hose.  bang pots and pans. Get them adversely conditioned to the presence of humans.

Hart says people can try to keep wild animals away by keeping their garbage cans locked up, picking up fruit that falls from trees, and cleaning up cleaning up bird seed from feeders.

Don't leave pet food dishes outside.

He says this is a very unusual case.

Hart says in a normal situation, javelina will not charge a human, especially one trying to frighten them off as Arana was doing as she tried to get away.

He says a javelina will attack a dog, however, the herd did not go for the little dog Arana was walking. It went for her.

The dog was not hurt.

Hart says the javelina carcasses have been donated to science and academia.

He says they have been donated to The University of Arizona so students may perform necropsies.

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