Wildlife Officials To Study Durango-Area Bears

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) – The Colorado Division of Wildlife is launching a five-year study of black bears in the Durango area to help determine how to reduce conflicts between humans and bears.

The study aims to help researchers better understand how bears use urban areas and to improve techniques for estimating bear populations.

Researcher Heather Johnson says her team wants to know whether increases in conflicts between humans and bears reflect a growing bear population, or a shift in bear behavior as the animals forage for food in towns.

Researchers hope to collect genetic material from bears and fit 50 female bears with collars to track their movements.

The Durango study follows up on a study in the Aspen and Glenwood Springs area that looked at urban bear movements and interaction.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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