ESTES PARK, Colo. (CBS4) – When a big black bear came ambling down a hallway where YMCA of the Rockies worker Anna Williamson recorded it, it was likely under a lot of stress. The bear may have been unable to get itself out as Anna shared on social media, it was having trouble getting out a door.
“It’s not a cute bear incident. It’s a beautiful animal who really needs to be safe in the wild,” noted the YMCA’s Lisa Eccles. They “Y” does a lot to try to mitigate problems with animals, but they know they are in wildlife territory.
“Elk, bears, deer, it’s always exciting to see,” said Eccles. “People come from all over and they aren’t used to living in an environment like this and having wildlife so close and sometimes it’s something really novel.”
So they share information with visitors on how to give wildlife space.
“You know there’s not problem bears in Colorado, there’s a lot of problem people,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Jason Clay.
When people from urban areas or out of state arrive they may know little about mitigating risks.
“Bears are very smart, intelligent, but they’re also very lazy,” said Clay. “So they want to spend the least amount of effort they can to get the least amount of calories.”
Especially at this time of year between mid-September and mid-November is when bears are in hyperpagia. They are trying to take in up to 20,000 calories and day and are active up to 20 hours a day.
When people give them opportunity, they’ll take it.
“A lot of those places don’t have air conditioning so they’ll leave a window propped open at night or have a door propped open, and that’s an open invitation for a bear to come in. They can smell what’s inside your house.”
This season, bears may be under pressure as well due to wildfires. CPW officers have reported an increase in activity east of the Cameron Peak Fire.
“We’ve been in a drought this year, there’s been fires going around the state, that can have different effects on wildlife.”
CPW also noted bears which are forced to move into new areas can get into conflicts with other bears. They shared video recorded in Franktown of one bear chasing off another.
“Young bears will get killed all the time by a big boar. They want to protect what they feel is their home range or their food source,” said Clay.