DENVER (CBS4) – The bears are back. They’re coming out of hibernation, and just Monday one was found shot to death in Snowmass Village. On Tuesday a bear appeared in Boulder.
Black bears have lived in the foothills a lot longer than people have. As the bears attempt to share space with an ever-growing human population, along with many more people playing in bear country, human-bear encounters are on the rise.
Most conflicts between people and bears can be traced to easy-to-get-at food, whether it’s human or pet food, garbage and bird seed. When people allow bears to find food, a bear’s natural drive to eat can overcome its wariness of humans. Bears need 20,000 calories a day to gain enough weight to survive the winter.
For a bear, a 7-pound bag of bird seed is just over 12,000. A 25-pound bag of dog food is just over 42,000 calories. A 28-ounce jar of peanut butter has 4,600 calories. And 3 pounds of shortening has just over 12,000 calories.
Don’t feed bears and don’t put out food for other wildlife that attracts bears. Be responsible about trash and bird feeders. Also, burn food off barbeque grills and clean after each use.
Talk to neighbors about being bear-responsible. Colorado Parks and Wildlife says every time they destroy a bear we all lose a little piece of the wildness that makes Colorado so special.