Bears active, even aggressive in Glenwood
It’s the time of year again to be alert for bears, and the local game warden says they’ve been especially active lately.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife personnel on Thursday captured a yearling black bear in a trap in West Glenwood and were chasing another bear in the area the same day. It’s been just another day in CPW life lately, as Dan Cacho, CPW game warden in Glenwood Springs, said the agency’s personnel has been out day and night recently chasing bears.
Bears are becoming increasingly active in town, especially in West Glenwood and the north part of town, such as the area north of KFC, said Cacho. It’s important not to let the bears get comfortable in town and lose their natural fear of humans. Residents in West Glenwood have seen several different bears, and at least one has been reported as acting somewhat aggressively, approaching people walking their dogs and pushing on windows at homes, said Cacho.
“That’s fairly aggressive behavior, though it’s hard to say what exactly is causing it. But typically it’s because they’ve become very habituated to being around people, or maybe they’re even being fed,” he said.
Whatever you do, don’t feed the bears.
Cacho said he hasn’t seen any evidence that anyone is intentionally feeding bears, but nevertheless he wants the community to know how badly that can turn out for the bears.
The young bear in this case is being relocated, but his mother is still suspected to be at large around the community. CPW suspects the pair might have also killed some chickens in town. But relocation is not always what happens to problem bears that CPW has to go after.
“If they keep coming to an available food source amongst people and homes, they will lose their fear of people, and once that happens it’s hard to convince them to stay out of town,” said Cacho.
If a bear is caught in town it can be tagged and relocated, so if it’s caught in town again, CPW will know that it’s already been dealt with once. If wildlife personnel are dealing with an aggressive bear that’s already been relocated before, euthanizing the animal is an option, said Cacho. But even relocating bears is becoming challenging, because there just aren’t that many places left to take them.
“If people are feeding the bears, they’re really forcing our hand in those situations. When the bears lose their fear of humans and become aggressive, there aren’t many options left, and it could potentially mean that they have to be euthanized,” he said.
Already this year a couple of problem bears in Missouri Heights have had to be euthanized, said Cacho.
If you see a bear in town, CPW recommends trying to haze the bear away with loud noises so they keep a healthy fear of being around people and homes. It’s also critical to secure your garbage, as bears commonly roam Glenwood’s alleys and neighborhoods looking for an easy meal in a trash can.
Last summer, Glenwood Springs police issued a significant number of tickets for residents who didn’t have their garbage secured against bears, and Cacho said this still seems to be an issue. The city ordinance calls for a $50 fine for first violation of not having secure garbage and $500 for a second offense.
They’re still seeing trash cans knocked over almost on a daily basis.
“At this point people should know,” he said. “We’ve been practically begging people for years now; if you don’t have a bear-resistant container, put it in your garage until pick-up time.”
Some people who have deep freezers store their trash there for the night, which also cuts down the smell that attracts bears. Residents can also easily make a “bear board” to place around their garbage, said Cacho. With nails protruding up through plywood, it can deliver enough pain to scare a bear away without inflicting significant injury, he said.
“We don’t want to euthanize these bears, and if everyone will put in some effort, we can reduce the possibility of that,” said Cacho.
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Rifle city judges have more options now when it comes to what to do with the pets of owners who are repeat offenders for animal-related offenses.