PHOENIX — A black bear that caused a stir when it ran through a field
in a Phoenix suburb has been spotted again, a state wildlife official said
Residents reported seeing the bear twice between 3:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. in
east Mesa, Arizona Game and Fish spokeswoman Amy Burnett said.
Wildlife personnel had been searching near the Mesa airport, but the animal
hasn’t been located. The agency is halting the search for now, she said.
“It’s called off until we have another confirmed sighting,” Burnett said.
Bears typically move around in the evening and morning so a sighting in the
middle of the day would be unlikely, she added. Anyone who does see the bear is
advised to call Game and Fish or local police.
“Do not approach it,” Burnett said. “Don’t try to feed it.”
Officials said they hope to relocate the animal to a more suitable habitat.
TV news helicopters captured video Monday of the bear bounding across an
alfalfa field on the outskirts of Mesa, and then standing within feet of a game
warden wielding a tranquilizer gun.
The bear proved elusive after it entered a former General Motors test site
filled with fields, shrubbery and trees. Officials decided the site was too
large to search.
Wildlife officials cautioned that the bear is a wild animal but also noted it
was running from people and not acting aggressively.
Burnett said young bears sometimes push it a little too far when trying to find new territory.
“Sometimes they get lost and end up in places they’re not supposed to be in,” she said.
It is believed the bear came from the Pinal Mountains near Globe, Ariz.
Black bears are the only species of bears living in Arizona, with an estimated
3,000 to 5,000 of them in the state, wildlife officials say.
Officials say the sighting is rare for the Phoenix metro area, where a bear is
spotted once every couple of years.
KTAR’s Lauren Grifo, Jeremy Foster and Martha Maurer and the Associated Press contributed to this report.