Game and Fish: Bear found in Anthem euthanized

- Officials with Arizona Game and Fish say the bear that was found in an Anthem neighborhood earlier on Monday has been euthanized.

According to a statement, the young adult male bear was captured about 10 days ago in Prescott. It was fitted with an ear tag, and was released at an authorized bear release site, located in a remote area, where it is estimated that the bear had traveled about 40 miles to get to the Anthem neighborhood.

Game and Fish officials say since the bear was previously captured in an area of human development, had been ear-tagged as a nuisance bear, and had made its way back to an area of human development, it was a public safety concern.

"Euthanizing an animal is the last thing the department wants to do, but in this case the fact the bear had been ear-tagged, relocated, and once again ended up in an area of human development (abnormal behavior for a bear) indicated it was habituated and a potential threat to people," read a portion of the statement.

Meanwhile, neighbors in the Anthem neighborhood got a shock when they were headed out the door on Monday.

"I saw what I thought was a dog because it was kind of far," said Mia Kruk. "But then, when I looked at it, I was like, 'that's not a dog.'"

Kruk saw the brown bear right in front of her home, located near I-17 and Anthem way.

"I was like, 'oh my gosh, it is a bear,'' Kruk recounted. "I freaked out a little bit because in Anthem, who would have ever thought they'd see a bear?" 

Kruk captured the bear on cell phone video, as it walked from house to house. She was in her car and headed to the store.

"It was crazy," said Kruk. "I'm glad my car is locked." 

A few blocks over, Jeff and Karen Dill spotted the sheriffs, as well as Game and Fish, cornering the bear.

"When we came around about a quarter of a mile from here, there was the sheriff standing there, he was guarded behind his vehicle," said Jeff. "I said, 'look! There's the bear right there and it was coming down the little path.'"

The Dills watched as the bear was tranquilized. They say they've seen wildlife in the area, but nothing like this.

"Javelinas, I've seen them running the street in packs," said Jeff. "Coyotes, Bobcats, so yeah, that's common, but not the bears."

Game and Fish officials say due to drought conditions in Arizona, they estimate that this year could see increased instances of wildlife coming into communities, campgrounds and other areas of human development, until monsoon rains arrive.

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