DOW possibly facing abundant cub crop |

DOW possibly facing abundant cub crop

Post Independent/Kelley Cox

A bumper berry crop last year could mean a bumper bear cub crop this year.And because there’s no school that cubs can attend to learn to get along with humans, the Colorado Division of Wildlife is hoping to step up its efforts to teach humans to get along with bears.The DOW is urgently looking for people willing to volunteer for its Roaring Fork Bear Aware program, which is now in its second year. Participants provide information to area residents about how to avoid conflicts with bears.

DOW spokesman Randy Hampton said the program could prove especially important if it turns out that a significant number of cubs are in the area this year. That’s possible because of a bountiful berry and acorn crop last year that sent mama bears into hibernation with good nutrition, which could mean more births.It will be important that the cubs don’t learn bad habits, Hampton said.”We don’t want those young bears going out with those sows and becoming habituated to relying on humans for food,” he said.

Moist conditions in recent months are raising hopes of another good season of berry and acorn production. That could minimize problems of bears going after human food sources, just as it did last year.However, there’s always the possibility of a late frost that could stunt growth of natural food sources and tempt some bears to visit neighborhoods, as has happened in areas such as Glenwood Springs in the past. Some bears have had to be relocated and in some cases destroyed as a result.Bear Aware volunteers receive training on bear behavior, removing bear attractants and handling bear conflicts. They don’t directly handle bears.

They work in neighborhoods that have bear problems, and in areas where the potential for problems exists.Hampton said the DOW probably recruited about a half dozen Glenwood-area volunteers last year but ideally would have about 15 on the Bear Aware team.Anyone looking for more information or wanting to volunteer should contact Sonia Marzec, DOW district wildlife manager for Glenwood Springs, as soon as possible at 947-2920. The DOW hopes to offer training as soon as enough volunteers have signed up.

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