Troubles with bruins a-brewin’

by Greg Masse
Post Independent Staff

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Police here are warning residents that at least two black bears with a taste for trash are awake, roaming and hungry.

Glenwood Springs police chief Terry Wilson said during the past several days, his department has responded to reports of bears dining on garbage and making a mess in their wake. The reports place the bruins near Berthod Motors on South Grand Avenue and in the city’s southern subdivisions, including Glenwood Park, Park East and Park West.

Wilson said the South Grand Avenue bear has caused a large mess in its feeding area.

“He spread trash around one of the trailer courts from one end to the other,” he said.

The bear was described as youngish, tall and rather lean.

“He’s a big-time garbage hound,” Wilson added.

The other bear is much larger – with some estimates saying it weighs in at around 400 pounds – and is seemingly undaunted by people.

“He is one big dude,” Wilson said, “and he’s not easily scared.”

One Glenwood Springs police officer tried to scare the bear away by making noise and shining light at the critter. The bear reacted by walking toward the officer.

“Last year he pulled a window out of a car to get at something inside,” Wilson said, saying that the bear has been a sporadic visitor to the city during the last three years or so.

According the Colorado Division of Wildlife, black bears eat almost anything. And once a bear finds easily accessible nourishment, it may overcome its wariness of people and visit often, increasing the chance of a human/bear encounter.

Wilson shared some tips for avoiding a close encounter of the grumbly, growling kind.

“One of the biggest things is, don’t leave your garbage out overnight – keep it in the garage,” he said.

Wilson also suggested cleaning the barbecue grill, keeping dog and cat food inside and keeping a watchful eye around hummingbird and other types of bird feeders.

“If you don’t give them a reason to stop, they’ll bypass you,” he said. “And generally if you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone.”

According to the DOW, the estimated black bear population in Colorado ranges from 8,000 to 12,000. Black bears are very agile, can run in bursts up to 35 mph and can run up or down hills quickly and easily. Their short, curved claws help them to climb trees and they are strong swimmers.

In Colorado, the largest black bear populations are found in areas dominated by Gambel’s oak and aspen trees near open areas of chokecherry and serviceberry bushes. But black bears are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. About 90 percent of a bear’s diet is made up of nutritious plants, while about 10 percent of its diet consists of animals.

Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511

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