Bears are Emerging — Be Bear Aware

As of September 4, there have been 35 known or probable grizzly bear mortalities in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in 2018. Photo by Roger Hayden

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) wants you to know that the bears are emerging and they’re asking all Coloradans to be Bear Aware. Each year, bears are tragically lost simply due to human negligence. The CPW understands that living with wildlife is a benefit to living in Colorado, and that’s why they strongly stress that it’s up to the residents to take small steps that can ensure the safety and protection of bears throughout the state.

One great example of how Colorado residents can help prevent and cut down on bear reports within their neighborhoods is by being more responsible for personal garbage. In an interview with Area Wildlife Manager Matt Yamashita, who supervises the Glenwood Springs, Aspen, and Vail area (Area 8) for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, he explained how one of the main attractants of bear reports continues to be the abundance of trash left behind by people in surrounding communities.

“Trash continues to be the number one cause for human-bear conflict in Colorado. Ordinances can be effective when properly exercised and enforced. Many communities that have standing ordinances have reaped the benefits they can bring when accompanied by sound public messaging and strict enforcement. We have shown that it is beneficial when trash ordinances are consistent between nearby municipalities and the counties they lie within,” Matt said.

Yamashita went on to explain how bears follow their incredibly sensitive noses to anything that smells like food and are capable of following scents from up to five miles away. This is why it is a good rule of thumb that no trash be left out overnight unless it’s in a bear-proof enclosure or container. CPW also urges residents to obey all local regulations and furthermore recommends feeding birds only when bears are hibernating.

For more information on how to stay Bear Aware and keep your communities safe or if you’d like to get involved in the effort to help Colorado’s bears, Yamashita encourages everyone to contact their local CPW office, as there are various opportunities across the state from Bear Aware programs to citizen advocacy groups and grassroots coalitions that retrofit trashcans to make them bear-proof.


For More information about Colorado Parks and Wildlife visit cpw.state.co.us.

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