A black bear, sighted in recent months in the area and found Thursday morning inside Parker school grounds, was euthanized by law enforcement at the request of Arizona Game and Fish.
At around 4:30 am, law enforcement responded to a call of a bear sighting in the area of 19th Street and Kofa Avenue in Parker. When officers arrived, they noticed a black bear walking around. Officers with Parker Police Department, La Paz County Sheriff’s Department, Colorado River Indian Tribes Police Department and Colorado River Indian Tribes Fish and Game Department attempted to corral the bear in various locations but were unsuccessful.
“The bear was going in and out of various residential yards and ultimately made its way into the high school grounds,” said Parker Police Chief Michael Bailey. “Law enforcement contacted Arizona Game and Fish and advised them of the situation. Unfortunately, law enforcement did not have the necessary equipment to tranquilize the animal.”
Due to the possibility of the bear leaving the school grounds and going back into the surrounding neighborhoods where there was a greater potential of being a danger to people, the bear was euthanized at the request of Arizona Game and Fish.
The bear had previously been sighted in the CRIT valley, both on the California side of the Colorado River south of Parker and on the Arizona side. It had been seen near Lake Havasu City and near Blythe.
Game and Fish District Supervisor Michael Rice told Parker Live it is very unusual to have a bear in the area, generally.
“This was a young adult male, it had previously been relocated out of human habitation areas and since came back to where people are,” Rice said. “It had been exhibiting really wild movements and behaviors like getting into dumpsters, not good bear habitat. It was getting above juvenile stage, dispersing from its family, but it’s unknown where it came from.”
Rice said the department is collecting DNA samples and other biological data for its records, and that the most likely origin in Arizona would be up the Santa Maria River, perhaps via Bill Williams River, but that the true origin is unknown.
He said the protocols dictate euthanasia in such cases.
“For the state of Arizona, for mountain lions and bears, we have a very definitive protocol we use to determine whether it’s captured and moved, or euthanized. In this case it would have been a danger to people.”