By Joel Hillan

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– The City of Boulder is looking to expand an ordinance requiring bear-resistant trash cans to neighborhoods east of Broadway as bear sightings are up in some of those neighborhoods.

Corey Barnes likes the idea of requiring more bear-resistant trash cans for neighborhoods like hers east of Broadway.

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“I think that would be great,” she said. “That would be excellent because they are moving east.”

Barnes thinks it is important to effectively co-exist with bears.

“Bears were here first, weren’t they?”

Valarie Matheson is the Urban Wildlife Conservation Coordinator for the City of Boulder. She has been monitoring bear activity for years.

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“Every year we’ve been looking at bear behavior and considering whether or not that boundary needed to be expanded.”

Matheson says expanding the ordinance boundary area is just one of many ideas they are exploring, but that the bear-resistant trash cans are not only effective, they bring other benefits as well.

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“It also helped with sanitation and less trash strewn and helped with raccoons not getting into trash anymore so there were a lot of benefits to making sure trash was staying in trash containers.”

She says they are also looking at educating residents to be more aware of the things they are doing that attract bears. Things like putting out bird feeders.

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“Hummingbird feeders have become more popular and birdseed is really rich in calories so bears will go for those as well.”

She suggests that any resident who puts out trash the night before pickup in these neighborhoods should use bear-resistant containers.

Fruit trees can also attract bears so she says to make sure that you gather the fallen and low-hanging fruit and secure it where bears can’t get to it.

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Boulder bears also thoroughly enjoy a good free-range, hormone-free chicken as well.

“As backyard chickens become more popular, we’re seeing more bears interact with chicken coops in the urban areas.”

Matheson stresses that if you do see a bear, get to a safe place and go what it takes to make the bears uncomfortable.

“Make sure they’re giving the bear the message that this is not a safe, good place for them to be and scare them out of the backyard.”

LINKS: Be Heard Boulder | Boulder Colorado Wildlife

Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.

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