Wildlife expert says recent Arizona bear sightings are result of drought

- Less than two weeks after a black bear was spotted and tagged in Prescott, the same bear traveled more than 40 miles to the Phoenix area, even stopping at a country club in Anthem.

Dr. Grey Stafford, a wildlife expert, says this is an alarming consequence of the drought.

"They have a tough life because they get pressure from adult males that want to protect their territory, protect their food supply... these animals are looking for food," he said.

Dr. Stafford says this second sighting was concerning because bears are extremely resourceful when it comes to food, so the fact that they're getting so desperate for food is disturbing.

"Bears can utilize any type of food right now... grasses, leafs, roots, that sort... honey, insects, and then as the season progresses, they'll graduate to fruits and nuts and higher calorie foods in the fall," he said.

Even though it can be tempting to leave food or water for the bears, don't, as Dr. Stafford puts it, "a fed bear is a dead bear," meaning if you feed the bears, they'll keep coming back to populated areas.

"If they lose that natural fear of humans and traffic and homes and dogs, this is what can happen," he said.

Unfortunately, Arizona Game and Fish had to make the tough decision to euthanize the bear, a policy that Dr. Stafford says is put into place.

"Because they have that nuisance animal policy, we are talking about a loss of an animal, not the loss of a child or animal," he said.

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