Bear found running through East Valley field still on loose

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. -- A bear found running in an east Valley field on Monday morning still had not been caught, as of Monday night.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office says there have been no reports of anyone spotting the bear. And Game and Fish officials say they think the bear might have a home near the old GM proving ground, and is simply resting after the morning's tiring chase.

The bear was spotted by someone who called emergency officials just before 7 a.m. Monday, according to Joaquin Enriquez with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. 

The animal was seen running through alfalfa fields, and it even crossed a major road.

MCSO worked with the Mesa Police Department and the Arizona Department of Game and Fish to try to capture the bear. But the bear wound up going into some thick brush. Once in the brush, it became a waiting game, and wildlife officers said it could be days before the creature emerged.

Dr. Grey Stafford with the Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium said the bear likely came down from the Superstition Mountains and may have been looking for food.

"We've had a very, very warm fall so I'm not surprised that his body might be a little confused and he doesn't seem to be underweight to me," said Stafford.

Stafford said the bear is a juvenile and does not weigh more than 200 pounds.

"He looks a little frothy to me so he's been exerting himself for a while and I'm sure he's probably disoriented because those alfalfa fields are not where he would normally be found," Stafford said.

Safford said ideally the bear would find its way home on its own but he doesn't think the bear will be able to do that at this point.

"It's very difficult to tranquilize an animal even under ideal control situations say in a zoo," Stafford said. "There are things that can go wrong. Animals are aware of our presence. They want to make sure that they get him someplace where he's somewhat contained and get a clean shot off and then they have to wait."

If the bear is tranquilized and captured it may be given a health assessment. If there are no health issues the bear will likely be released back into the wild.