36814885 - big grizzly brown bear looking at camera, ursus arctos horribilis

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is searching for a young black bear that has been spotted several times in Anthem and Cave Creek, according to Pat Crouch, a field supervisor for Arizona Game and Fish Department. 

Crouch said the department is assuming the sightings are of the same bear. He said it is difficult to determine exactly how many sightings there have been because reports have come through social media and the department’s radio dispatch.

He did say that sightings like this are not common in Valley.

“You’re really looking at a young animal that probably either lost its way, or was not able to compete with other, older animals and somehow found its way into the fringe areas around the Valley trying to, typically, look for food and water,” Crouch said.

In its search for the bear, the Game and Fish Department has mostly been relying on tips from the public and has received assistance from Maricopa County Sheriff’s officers in “working with the public” and obtaining information. 

“We also focus on greenbelt areas, where there’s lots of water and some type of food source for the animal,” Crouch said. “Many times, during the heat of the day we will look in underpasses or road culverts, places where they could find some shelter and some shade.”

Crouch said AZGFD sent officials to the surrounding areas in hopes of finding the bear and transporting it. 

“We had wildlife officers in the area trying to get a visual on the animal and potentially maybe even tranquilize the animal so it can be moved back into a suitable habitat,” he said. 

As of May 27, Arizona Game and Fish has not located it. The location of the release site will not be released to the public. 

He said that although this bear was not being lured in with food, he reminds the public to not do the same. AZGFD “is very adamant about the public not feeding wildlife in such a way to attract it into communities.”

Crouch said AZGFD is urging anyone who may see the bear to not approach or follow it. Instead, they should immediately call the Arizona Game and Fish Department at 602-942-3000.