Scott Condon
The Aspen Times

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December 12, 2013
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Bear won’t go to bed in Basalt

A young bear that has been wandering the streets of Basalt probably isn’t an insomniac but was likely disrupted from hibernation and is now finding enough food to stay awake, according to experts.

Wildlife officers want people to resist the temptation to feed the wayward bruin and secure all food sources such as bird feeders, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Mike Porras.

“It’s important that people not try to help it,” he said.

The bear was likely disturbed from natural or man-made causes in its winter den, Porras said. Once disturbed, it started scouting around and found enough calories to remain awake and out of hibernation, despite the frigid temperatures, he said.

Wildlife officers don’t want to intervene since the bear isn’t posing a threat by raiding trash or breaking into houses, Porras said. If people are diligent about cutting off the calories, the bear will hibernate.

“They want to let the bear be a bear,” Porras said.

It’s tough not to feel sorry for the young bruin, described as a large cub that appears to be in decent shape. Sopris Drive resident Bob Ward said he received a call with a report of the bear from one of his kids while he was on vacation last week. “[She] said, ‘Dad, you’re not going to believe this — there’s a bear in our yard,’” Ward said.

The bear was still around when he arrived home a few days later. “The bear is roving around the neighborhood. I don’t think it’s got in anybody’s garage, but everybody’s talking about it,” Ward said.

People are concerned about the welfare of the bear and confused why it isn’t hibernating, he said. The bear was spotted as recently as Wednesday. “Something’s not right,” Ward said.

Police Chief Gregg Knott said the department has received four calls of concern about the bear in the last 10 days. His officers witnessed it digging into a bird feeder. Officers consulted with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and were told to urge people to secure all food sources and not feed the bear, he said.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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