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Colorado Parks And Wildlife Says Over 5,000 Bear Incidents Reported In Colorado Last Year

Feb 26, 2020

Pedestrians photograph a bear from close range in downtown Aspen in October 2019.
Credit Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Colorado Parks and Wildlife says it received 5,369 total bear calls from April 1 through Dec. 31 of 2019. On Wednesday, the agency released the latest statistics from its modernized tracking system. CPW said there are likely an equal number of human-bear interactions that go unreported.

One-third of those reports involved trash, which are the leading cause of bear habituation. The agency called open dumpsters or trash cans an “all-you-can-eat buffet” for the animal. CPW said 2019 also included 517 reports of bears entering dwellings, and 303 reports of vehicle break-ins.

“All of that is absolutely preventable if people take some simple steps to secure any attractants around their homes,” said Jason Clay, northeast region public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Clay explained that people can use bear-proof trash cans and avoid using bird feeders between March and November to help curtail human-bear interactions in residential areas.

“We’re hoping that educational efforts can take the human side out of it,” Clay said. “And we all as people can do our part to keep our bears wild.”

CPW’s release also detailed that only a small portion of bear calls resulted in euthanization. In 2019, 92 bears were euthanized – 1.7 percent of the year’s reported bear conflicts.