Ordinance also protects bears
The city of Glenwood Springs and the Colorado Division of Wildlife are doing their part to reduce the local bear problem.Now it’s up to residents to do their part, for the sake of the bears as much as themselves.Last year bears were more abundant than in the past in town – too abundant, quite frankly. While drought and a poor berry crop exacerbated the problem, the animals are visiting largely because the eating’s good. Human-provided food sources abound, and bears are becoming habituated to dining in residential areas.City Council is responding with a level-headed measure that prohibits putting trash out overnight, unless it’s in a bear-resistant container.The ordinance also addresses other bear attractions through provisions such as prohibiting leaving out pet food and other wildlife attractants, and requiring bird feeders to be suspended from cables or other devices from April 15 to Nov. 15.Meanwhile, the DOW is initiating a pilot program in Glenwood designed to deal more aggressively with problem bears. It includes removing bears from designated safety zones including downtown and schools, and also relocating them from neighborhoods where they don’t stop causing problems after a week.Under the plan, bears also would be more aggressively hazed by city police and DOW officers using rubber buckshot, pepper spray and other means, in an attempt to drive them from town. Also, homeowners with bear problems would be given a list of foods and other bear attractants that need to be cleaned up, receive a second visit to check on compliance, and be cited if they didn’t comply and a bear returns.Some city residents continue to welcome bears, but the animals’ presence makes others nervous. While the actual threat is probably less than perceived, it’s still enough that the situation can’t be ignored. At the same time, the reality is that the situation poses far more of a threat to bears than humans.”Unfortunately, bears that do come into frequent contact with people may have to be trapped, relocated and/or destroyed,” the DOW says in its Glenwood bear plan. “Generally, it is not for what the bear has done, but instead for what people think the bear might do.”With the new policy, bears in Glenwood stand a much higher chance of being tagged and relocated. And a tagged bear that creates more problems is put down under the DOW’s statewide policy.Glenwood residents need to realize that their actions can have a lot to do with how many local bears live or die this year. While the new city and DOW policies should make things safer for humans, humans need to do their part to make things safer for bears by eliminating food sources and giving them little reason to pay a visit.
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