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Facing Drought, Bears Wander Into Arizona Towns

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has received a flood of calls about bears in urban areas, with more than 200 bear-related calls last month alone.                                          

The Arizona Daily Sun spoke with Game and Fish spokesman Bill Andres, who says his agency captured 20 bears and euthanized seven of them for public safety reasons. The rest of the captured bears were relocated.

Andres said Game and Fish tries to relocate bears when it can, but the animals sometimes return to their neighborhood territories. He said that bears require between 15,000 and 20,000 calories a day, and the recent drought means bears aren’t finding as much food in the wild as they may need. 

When senior field correspondent Stina Sieg was 22, she moved to the desert. She hasn’t been the same since. At the time, the Northern California native had just graduated from college and was hankering for wide-open spaces. So she took a leap and wrote to nearly every newspaper in New Mexico until one offered her a job. That’s how she became the photographer for a daily paper in the small town of Silver City. And that’s when she realized how much she loved storytelling. In the years since, the beauty of having people open up and share their stories — and trust her to tell them — has never gotten old to Sieg. Before coming to KJZZ, Sieg was also a writer and photographer at newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and the Smoky Mountains town of Waynesville, North Carolina. She always had her hand in public radio, too, including hosting Morning Edition on a fill-in basis at WNCW in North Carolina. It’s still the best music station she’s found. When she’s not reporting, chances are Sieg is running, baking, knitting or driving to some far-flung town deep in the desert — just to see what it looks like.