Arizona Game and Fish advises against giving wildlife food, littering
PHOENIX — Wildlife officials advised Friday to those living in or visiting bear country to not feed or leave food accessible to wildlife.
Though bears are typically shy and tend to avoid humans, the reduced amount of vegetation due to rising temperatures and dry conditions raise the chance for bears to wander into unusual areas in search of food, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
“If a bear becomes habituated to getting food from trash cans and other human sources, it’s only a matter of time before it loses its fear of humans and begins to actively search out other human food sources,” AZGFD Flagstaff supervisor Larry Phoenix said in a press release.
“At that point, the bear becomes a threat to public safety.”
To avoid attracting bears and other animals, wildlife officials suggest making sure trash is inside a secured area, bird feeders be taken down at night and keeping pet or livestock food inside or remove all uneaten food.
Despite recent forest closure due to wildfires and hot, dry conditions, officials also suggested keeping food inaccessible to bears when camping, hiking in groups and avoiding campsite areas where bears might forage for food, such as creeks, rivers and other bodies of water.
Bear sightings in areas where there are people present should be reported to AZGFD’s dispatch center at 623-236-7201.
For questions about living with bears, visit AZGFD‘s website.