PHOENIX – Results of DNA testing on an adult male black bear have confirmed that the animal is the one that attacked a woman in Pinetop on Tuesday.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department conducted a forensic necropsy of the bear on Wednesday, but the procedure did not yield any immediately identifiable human material. However, DNA samples taken from the bear during the necropsy matched bear DNA found on the victim’s clothing.

Confirmation from the DNA tests gives us complete confidence that we removed the right bear in the interest of public

The analysis was done by the nationally-recognized Wyoming Game and Fish Wildlife Forensic and Fish Health Laboratory. safety. Hopefully, correct identification will provide closure for the victim and her family,” said Larry Voyles, Arizona Game and Fish Department director. “We especially thank the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for dropping their other priorities to immediately process this case. Their responsiveness was key to getting the results so quickly.”

A rabies test carried out by the Arizona Department of Health Services came back negative.

Game and Fish’s forensic necropsy did reveal a significant amount of kitchen garbage in the bear’s digestive tract, suggesting that the animal had been scavenging for food waste in trash cans and dumpsters.

Drought conditions are likely to bring more wildlife, including bears, into local towns and communities in search of food. Residents and visitors are reminded to take these immediate steps to minimize bear encounters:

  • Store household trash or food waste in a secure location such as a garage, shed or bear-proof container.
  • Put trash out the morning of collection; never the night before.
  • Clean your trash container regularly.

If you hear of a bear in your area or see a yellow Game and Fish sign that says “Advisory – Bear Frequenting Area,” take all necessary precautions to prevent attracting it, including securing all trash, bird and squirrel feeders, and any other potential food attractant.

Other potential food attractants include pet food, uncleaned BBQs, and even orchard fruit on the ground. The food odors attract bears that have a very keen sense of smell.

For more information or questions on reducing wildlife conflicts at your home or property, pick up a copy of the “Living with Bears” brochure at the Pinetop office or visit the department’s website at www.azgfd.gov/urbanwildlife. To schedule a nuisance wildlife presentation at your next Homeowner’s Association meeting, contact the Pinetop regional office at (928) 367-4281.

Note to media: Interviews and general video and black bear photos are available by calling Public Information Officer Lynda Lambert (623) 236-7203.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, or disability in its programs and activities. If anyone believes that they have been discriminated against in any of the AGFD’s programs or activities, including employment practices, they may file a complaint with the Deputy Director, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000, (602) 942-3000, or with the Fish and Wildlife Service, 4040 N. Fairfax Dr. Ste. 130, Arlington, VA 22203. Persons with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation or this document in an alternative format by contacting the Deputy Director as listed above.

Contact:
Lynda Lambert (623) 236-7203

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