Tips to stay 'Bear Aware' in southern Arizona - Tucson News Now

Tips to stay 'Bear Aware' in southern Arizona

Black bear file photo (Source: AZ Game and Fish) Black bear file photo (Source: AZ Game and Fish)
SOUTHERN, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

With several bear sighting in southern Arizona over the last month, it's time to go over a few tips to keep you and the bears safe.

The black bear is the only bear species in Arizona and the smallest bear in North America, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Black bears are not overly aggressive and will usually avoid people. The problem is they are attracted to human food and trash and this is where you can do the most to avoid a run-in with a bear.

Campers can be more "bear aware" by doing to 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.

If you see a bear in the distance, change your route to avoid contact. If approached by a bear you can 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, AZGFD officials advise staying calm, face the bear and slowly back away, DO NOT run or play dead; if attacked, AZGFD officials say to fight back.  

Bear sightings should be reported immediately to AZGFD at 623-236-7201, 24-hours-a-day, seven days-a-week.

Copyright 2017 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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