Black bears and you

The largest of the free-roaming animals spotted on Kitt Peak are black bears. Although seldom seen by the casual visitor, bears seem to have adapted quite easily to the presence of people, lured by leftovers as an easy-to-retrieve food source. Bears have an incredible sense of smell and can sniff out even well-stored food. The good news is that even hungry bears are usually shy (and humans are not their first choice for dinner), so chances are good that the bear will be more frightened of you than vice versa. However, a sow (mature female) can be aggressive if she feels her cubs are threatened. The best thing to do if you see a bear is to keep a respectful distance; do not approach it. Sadly, officials either must try to relocate the habituated bear or apply euthanasia, as the animal cannot overcome its urge for easy pickings. Please help protect Kitt Peak wildlife by keeping your site clean. Dispose of trash in provided receptacles. Remember: "A fed bear is a dead bear."

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