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Residents of the Red Mountain Ranch neighborhood spotted a black bear crossing streets and wandering through the neighborhood.
Arizona Game and Fish

Arizona Game and Fish officials believe a young black bear that was roaming through a northeast Mesa neighborhood Thursday may have headed home. 

 Amy Burnett, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, said a wildlife team “that has experience with bear relocation” found bear tracks leaving the subdivision and moving north toward the Tonto National Forest. 

The bear was first spotted wandering around the Red Mountain Ranch golf course at Power and Thomas roads before making its way to a nearby neighborhood, according to several neighbors and Arizona Game and Fish. 

“It was almost going door to door like a salesman,” says Landen Woodward, 39, who photographed the bear when he spotted it Wednesday. 

Shane Wikfors, a resident of Red Mountain Ranch, said he saw the picture on Nextdoor, a neighborhood information app, and realized the bear had been walking around his neighborhood.

Wikfors said neighbors have been keeping their doors locked and pets inside.

Residents notified Arizona Game and Fish after seeing the bear.

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“People said they saw the bear this morning (Thursday) and Arizona Game and Fish were called again,” Wikfors said.

Video provided by Arizona Game and Fish, which was taken by a resident, shows the bear ambling through a neighborhood and crossing the street.

The bear is believed to be 1 to 2 years old, around 80 pounds and may have gotten lost or was “pushed out to find new territory” by its mother, according to Burnett.

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Burnett says the area where the bear was first seen is “on the fringe of the open space and desert” to the northeast, which may be where it came from. Red Mountain Ranch in northeast Mesa is located in an area that abuts wide open desert areas, including areas around the lower Salt River and Tonto National Forest.

“For now, it appears he has gone home the way he probably came,” Burnett said, also noting that there are “no guarantees he won’t return.”

In 2014, a black bear was sighted in another area of east Mesa several days before Christmas. The bear captured the Valley’s imagination, even earning its own Twitter account, especially after footage of the bear taken from a helicopter showed it running full speed through fields, dodging an attempt by officials to stop it with a tranquilizer gun and disappearing in an open area.

The bear was caught on Christmas morning and safely relocated into the Tonto National Forest.

Those who see the bear in the case of its return should call Arizona Game and Fish Department’s emergency line at 602-942-3000.

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