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Arizona Game and Fish Department warns of increased bear sightings around Tucson

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is warning southern Arizona residents that bear sightings are on the rise in their area.

Department spokesperson Mark Hart says May and June are the busiest months for bear sightings.

“These are our hottest, driest months of the year, and wildlife gets stressed for food, water, and shelter. So, in the case of young bears, of course, they have to separate from their mothers sooner or later, and just don’t know their way around or how to establish territory,”

Hart says the department has dealt with 10 bear-related calls in three weeks.

These calls include a bear attacking a horse in the city of Benson, southeast of Tucson, and one attacking a goat in San Manuel, northeast of Tucson.

“For a bear to attack a horse is rather unusual, although they can be opportunistic omnivores, and so taking the goat wasn’t necessarily unusual,” said Hart.

Hart says if you encounter a bear, wave your arms and make noises to try and keep the bear moving away from the area.

He says if you decide to go camping in southern Arizona, make use of the campground’s bear lockers to avoid attracting one.

Vaughan Jones is the weekend reporter for KJZZ, and a graduate of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism, with a minor in music. As a Phoenix native, Jones’s dream is to serve his community by covering important stories in the metropolitan area.He spent two years as music director at Blaze Radio, ASU’s student-run radio station. His passion for radio stems from joining Blaze his freshman year as a DJ.When he is not working, Jones can be found writing music with his band, playing video games with his friends, or watching his favorite Phoenix-area sports teams.