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Bear Returns To Dumpster, Deterred By ‘Negative Reinforcement’

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A bear was caught on surveillance video dumpster diving outside a Colorado Springs restaurant (credit: Edelweiss Restaurant)

A bear was caught on surveillance video dumpster diving outside a Colorado Springs restaurant (credit: Edelweiss Restaurant)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4)- It seems the negative reinforcement measures that Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers used to keep a bear away from a popular restaurant’s dumpsters– is working.

The bear that had been casing the dumpsters behind the landmark Colorado Springs restaurant Edelweiss returned for a third time.

But this time the bear didn’t like what was waiting for him– wooden planks filled with nails pointing upwards.

Wildlife officers said they’re hoping the negative reinforcement will deter the bear from coming back. They’re trying to avoid trapping the bear or taking even more drastic measures.

The restaurant placed surveillance cameras outside the building and pointed them at the dumpsters in hopes of catching the vandals that had been rifling through the garbage.

What they discovered was that it wasn’t vandals, but a bear that wheeled away the dumpsters and dug through mounds of uneaten food. Then the bear came back for more.

It happened twice in one week.

“We figure that with a big of wrestling it flipped it over and had itself a dinner and it was good enough it came back the next night and did it again,” said Edelweiss owner Dieter Schnakenberg.

That’s when wildlife officers were called in to help save the bear and put down the nail boards.

Late Thursday night the bear returned, walked over the trash cans and put one paw on the spike strip, backed down and walked away.

Wildlife officers said the spike strip won’t injure the bear too badly and that beats the alternative measures.

They believe the biggest obstacle to keeping bears in the woods is people see the bears on video, think they’re cute and don’t report them. That means the bears have a chance to get used to people and their food and that’s when the situation can be dangerous for both humans and the bear.

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