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Arizona warning residents, campers after first black bear sighting of 2018

(Flickr/@Till86)

PHOENIX — Arizona had its first black bear sighting of 2018, the state’s Game and Fish Department announced Monday.

Black bears normally emerge in March, in a state of torpor, semi-hibernation, after bedding down for the winter.

Males usually wake before females and both look for food and winter in order to resume their digestive processes.

“Bears in search of food are often attracted to homes and into proximity with people,” said Raul Vega, regional supervisor of Game and Fish in Tucson.

“This close contact puts both humans and bears at risk.  But conflicts between humans and bears are preventable.” 

Garbage stores outside were known to be the biggest attractant for these bears and feeding bears can be a problem.

Game and Fish said the bears may lose their fear of humans and begin to associate them with food, which can cause property damage or injury.

Because of the risk to both humans and the animals, Arizona Game and Fish Department spends time and money each year to relocate the bears.

However, this is not always effective and some homeowners experience more problems from a different bear.

A relocated bear may also suffer if it moves into the established territory of a larger, older bear in the area.

Black bears are the only bear species that was found in the state.

It is the smallest and most widely distributed North American bear.