Bear vs. human conflicts up 16% in Colorado; down along Front Range |

Bear vs. human conflicts up 16% in Colorado; down along Front Range

Colorado Parks & Wildlife reported nearly 4,300 sightings and conflicts in 2022

John Meyer
The Denver Post
A bear wanders back into the forest near homes in Nederland in 2020.
Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

Reports of bear sightings and conflicts with humans were up 16% in Colorado last year to nearly 4,300, but they were down slightly when compared to 2019 and 2020, according to an annual report issued Wednesday by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

On the Front Range east of the Continental Divide, reports decreased in 2022 but they grew in the northwest region of the state due to drought and a shortage of natural food sources there.

Ample moisture east of the Continental Divide created favorable conditions for the growth of natural bear food sources, including wild berries and nuts, reducing the need for bears to seek food in urban areas. Compared to the previous two years, Colorado’s southeast region saw an 18% decrease in bear conflicts while conflicts in the northeast region decreased 6%.

West of the divide, a late freeze led to “food failure,” the CPW report says, resulting in nearly “non-existent” sources of berries and acorns. The northwest region, which experienced extreme drought, saw a 9% increase in conflicts while the southwest region saw a 3% decrease.

CPW urges the public to learn how to bear-proof their homes.

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