This young black bear wandered into a neighborhood in far east Mesa before being tranquilized and moved to a safe location.
MESA, AZ (CBS5) -
Residents in the remote areas of far east Mesa were entertained when a young black bear ventured into their neighborhood Tuesday evening, but officials said getting too close to one of the state's signature wild animals is no laughing matter.
The bear ventured most likely from the high country northeast of Mesa after a winter of hibernation and looking for an evening meal, said Gray Stafford, director of Conservation at the Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium, who also has a home in nearby Fountain Hills.
It was spotted in a residential area near Sousa Elementary School in the area of University Drive and 112th Street just before 10 p.m.
"It's a young bear," said Arizona Game and Fish Officer Brian Marshall. "Young bears are often expanding, looking for new territory, and sometimes get a little off course, or a little hungry and come looking for food or other resources and end up where they weren't meant to go."
Mesa police Lt. Brian Soller, one of the first officers to arrive where the bear was spotted, said there were a lot of people in the neighborhood and additional officers were called to keep the curious onlookers a safe distance from the bear.
"We got lucky," Soller said, adding that it was fortunate the bear arrived late in the evening when no children were out playing.
The bear ran into a grassy fenced area north of the school where police were able to contain it, Soller said.
He said the public needs to keep in mind that bears are wild animals, and when you see them, "don't chase them or get close to them."
Police were able to use sirens and spotlights to keep the bear contained until Game and Fish officials arrived and tranquilized the animal.
It was loaded into a cage and Wednesday morning was taken to an area where the bear and the public would be safe, Marshall said.
Soller said this is the third bear call he has been on, and the others happened during a drought season when food is scarce and the animals are forced to forage closer to civilization.
Bob Webb has a koi pond in his backyard and thought the bear might be trying to get to the fish.
"It's pretty strange. I haven't seen anything like this before," Webb said.
Deedra Gardner and her family watched the events unfold from their upstairs balcony through binoculars. Her son, Conner, thought it was "really cool and exciting to watch it run around."
Stafford said Arizona has a healthy black bear population and was not surprised to hear of a bear moving into the Valley this time of year.
"They are just waking up from their winter hibernation and looking for food. They're hungry," he said.
He said bears spend most of their waking hours foraging for foods such grasses and seeds early to flowers and berries as the summer wears on.
He said people should try to help limit the suburban food supply by securing their trash.
"Especially if you live in outlying areas or in the high country," where bears are most prevalent. He said bears are always looking for an easy meal.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
UPDATEYoung bear wanders into far east Mesa neighborhoodMore>>
Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:18 PM EDT2014-04-23 02:18:25 GMT
They've served the country and are now back from the battlefield. The next thing veterans need are jobs. Wednesday, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden are heading to Fort Campbell for a speechMore >>
Wednesday, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden are heading to Fort Campbell for a speech on helping vets get to work.More >>
Tuesday, April 22 2014 9:51 PM EDT2014-04-23 01:51:34 GMT
Deputies have returned nearly all of the property stolen from a lumber business and a contractor, authorities said Tuesday. More than $10,000 worth of items had been taken from 84 Lumber Company and BlackwellMore >>
More than $10,000 worth of items had been taken from 84 Lumber Company and Blackwell Construction, Jamie Dexter with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office said in an e-mail.More >>
Tuesday, April 22 2014 8:24 PM EDT2014-04-23 00:24:57 GMT
Nashville is among the 15 cities the Democratic National Committee is considering to host the party's presidential nominating convention in 2016. Among the other cities under consideration are Chicago,More >>
Nashville is among 15 cities the Democratic National Committee is considering to host the party's presidential nominating convention in 2016.More >>
Tuesday, April 22 2014 8:20 PM EDT2014-04-23 00:20:29 GMT
Southern Baptist pastors say it's time to redefine what their faithful should consider right and wrong. About 200 leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention are in Nashville this week discussing topics.More >>
Southern Baptist pastors say it's time to redefine what their faithful should consider right and wrong. About 200 leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention are in Nashville, discussing topics like marriage, fidelity and homosexuality.More >>
Tuesday, April 22 2014 8:12 PM EDT2014-04-23 00:12:05 GMT
America has had a century-long love affair with the automobile, but what if the way to a cleaner environment meant rolling on just three wheels instead of four? Elio Motors believes its three-wheeler electricMore >>
America has had a century-long love affair with the automobile, but what if the way to a cleaner environment meant rolling on just three wheels instead of four?More >>
Another video featuring "NBC Nightly News" managing editor and anchor Brian Williams has gone viral, thanks to the help of Jimmy Fallon. The video showing Williams "rapping" the Snoop Dogg song "Gin andMore >>
Another video featuring "NBC Nightly News" managing editor and anchor Brian Williams has gone viral, thanks to the help of Jimmy Fallon.More >>
Monday, April 21 2014 8:59 PM EDT2014-04-22 00:59:20 GMT
Hopkinsville police have ruled the death of a young boy who was struck by a window that had been propped open at his family's home as an accident. The incident happened Saturday afternoon at a home onMore >>
Hopkinsville police have ruled the death of a young boy who was struck by a window that had been propped open at his family's home as an accident.More >>
Tuesday, April 22 2014 12:44 PM EDT2014-04-22 16:44:13 GMT
Frank Ward, the owner of the Nashville Sounds Baseball Club, is set to make a major announcement about the new ballpark on Tuesday morning. The news conference will start at 11 a.m. at the Omni Hotel. TheMore >>
First Tennessee Bank has bought the naming rights to the new Nashville Sounds ballpark, which will be named First Tennessee Park.More >>