Bears continue to appear in area
VAIL – Michael Newbury is having the ultimate Rocky Mountain vacation. The weather has been pleasant, the flowers are in bloom and a bear has been lumbering around in his daughter’s West Vail neighborhood.”It was in the evening, and he was in that trash over there,” Newbury said, pointing to a condo in his daughter’s complex. “There was some milk in the trash, and he was lapping it up.”Eagle County has laws that forbid people from putting their trash out early. Unsecured trash is blamed for most bear incidents in the Rocky Mountains, said Bill Andree, state wildlife officer. But some residents aren’t following those laws, either because they don’t know about them, or don’t care, Andree said. “I hate to use the old cliché that the fed bear is a dead bear,” said Vail Police Det. Ryan Millbern. “The fact remains that it’s true. Bears are a wonderful resource – they are one of the reasons I like to live here. But feeding the bear is a whole other story.”It’s not just trash, though. Just the smell of food wafting out of a home can attract a bear. Wildlife officials say a bear tore off a window screen in a luxury home near Colorado Springs on Thursday and snarfed down hot dog buns, chicken legs and tortillas.”If they smell food anywhere, they’ll investigate,” said Michael Seraphin, a spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. “People should take the same precautions to keep bears out of their homes as they would burglars.”Wildlife officers have had to kill two bears this year that were frequenting the Eagle-Vail neighborhood. The bears had been out since December. The Vail Police Department is trying to reduce bear problems by warning residents to keep trash inside unless it is their pick-up day. “Bears are pretty crafty,” Millbern said. “They can associate locations with food.”Garfield County has also had its problems with bears this year. In Glenwood Springs, wildlife officials had to destroy a yearling bear after previous attempts to relocate him. The bear had crashed through screen doors in homes in No Name, and, after relocation, in Glenwood. The bear was destroyed July 5, under the state-wide two-strikes policy. The city of Glenwood Springs also has instituted an ordinance aiming to reduce bear attractants in neighborhoods through requirements such as prohibiting putting trash out until the day of pickup unless it’s in a bear-resistant container.More tips on living in bear country can be found on Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Web site at http://wildlife.state.co.us/Education/LivingWithWildlife/BearCountry.asp.Gabrielle Devenish contributed to this report.
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