Central Colorado bracing for return of the bears | SummitDaily.com

Central Colorado bracing for return of the bears

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. ” State wildlife officials will launch a pilot program here this summer in hopes of preventing problems with bears, which have had a number of recent run-ins with residents across the central Colorado mountains.

The program calls for relocating problem bears, killing others deemed more dangerous, and pelting the animals with pepper spray and bean bags to keep them out of town.

Pat Tucker, a local wildlife official, said the plan could be adopted in other Colorado towns if it is successful here.

Last year, Glenwood Springs police responded to more than 140 bear calls, mostly animals going through yards or trash cans. In one case, a bear was relocated after killing a goat, and a sow and a cub were relocated after a dog was attacked.

The city has installed bear-resistant trash cans in town parks and recently passed an ordinance barring residents from putting out trash the night before pickup unless it’s in a bear-resistant container; the rule also outlines how pet food can be left outside.

Police and Division of Wildlife officers plan to set up a safety zone around schools, parks and downtown Glenwood Springs.

“We had seen over the last five years a rise in the number of bear conflicts,” Tucker said. “In talking with the division folks, we wanted to try something different, a little more aggressive approach in handling things and trying to solve them.”

In Aspen and Snowmass Village, the DOW has relied largely on education programs and helping residents “bear-proof” their homes. Last year, nearly a dozen nuisance bears had to be killed in the Aspen District of the Division of Wildlife.

In Glenwood Springs, the DOW still plans to kill only bears that pose a safety threat or break into homes, but it will relocate bears that have attacked dogs or livestock, broken into outbuildings or posed a problem previously in a week.

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