Alarming String Of Encounters With Bears Reported In Aspen

Wildlife Officials Blame Residents For Lack Of 'Bearproofing'

Written by Paul Day
ASPEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Black bears are at it again in the resort town of Aspen after causing something of a sensation back in 2009.

The bears have been roaming into town and getting into trouble.

This time is the number of reported cases of bear-human conflicts is alarming.

Starting Sunday afternoon and during an 11 hour period afterwards, eight different encounters in and around Aspen were reported to law enforcement.

“It is critically important that people that live in areas with black bears take some responsibility for themselves and their things,” says Randy Hampton, a spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Hampton says the bear conflicts are triggered by easy access to food. He blames Aspen homeowners for being careless with stored trash, bird feeders and barbecue grills.

Some of the calls to dispatch were comical.

One party related how all the residents were standing around outside a home while the bear was alone inside.

But another call was disturbing because of the potential for violence.

“There’s a bear trying to aggressively break in for the third time,” a dispatcher told her units.

“Ripped a window off the house and the rp (reporting party) on the line is telling us they’re getting ready to get their guns and shoot the bear,” she added.

Fortunately, no animals were shot and no people were hurt during the bear conflict spree.

Parks and Wildlife have conducted public education campaigns in the past.

The agency is renewing efforts to have affected Aspen residents “bearproof” their homes to avoid having to put down problem bears.



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