BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – The bear suspected in conflicts at the Lost Lake backcountry campground over the past several years was euthanized over the weekend. The bear’s aggressive activity forced park officials to close the area to humans earlier this month. Officials were searching for the bear Saturday evening when it came into the campground.
The Roosevelt National Forest and CPW had closed the area around Lost Lake to all use on July 8, citing safety concerns with an aggressive bear that had been reported frequently since 2017.
Officials logged 16 reports of the bear ripping through unoccupied tents, taking food that was left unsecured and showing little to no fear of humans — even approaching within 20 feet of people.
Wildlife officers were confident it was one individual bear. They say there were matching descriptions from conflict reports, it’s a low-density area for bears, and there’s a 2018 video posted on Instagram showing the bear entering an unoccupied tent.
The boar (male bear) was estimated to weigh 200 pounds and be 4-8 years old. It had birdshot in both hindquarters and an injury to the rear left leg that did not allow it to straighten out completely.
Wildlife officials say they don’t normally manage conflict bears in the backcountry.
“If backcountry campers want to prevent something like this from happening again, they should invest in a bear canister to secure their food and scented items so bears do not get rewarded and become conditioned to living off of human food sources,” said Area Wildlife Manager Jason Duetsch. When they do, they become aggressive working to get what they can smell is there, and that is when public safety is at risk.”
Wildlife officers donated the meat.
The Lost Lake area will re-open to public use on Monday. Wildlife officers are continuing to actively monitor the area for bear activity.
“We are grateful for the close coordination with Colorado Parks and Wildlife,” said Boulder District Ranger Angela Gee with the Forest Service. “We hope future campers to the area will continue to be vigilant and will come prepared for camping in bear country.”