Spring weather brings reminder to be Bear Aware in Colorado

RBC I The official start to spring brings the annual reminder from Colorado Parks and Wildlife that bears are emerging from their slumber and beginning the search for food. Residents and visitors to bear country statewide need to do their part to help conserve our wildlife by working to reduce the chances of human-bear interactions.

Improper food storage and forgetting to lock a vehicle resulted in a Breckenridge resident’s car being destroyed in just the first week of April.

In the spring, bears should find natural food sources when they emerge from hibernation as new plants and grasses begin to sprout. Bears are omnivores and primarily eat vegetation such as grasses, forbs, berries, acorns, and seeds—food sources that span their waking seasons. But if natural food becomes scarce, or if human-provided food is easy to access, bears will begin looking in residential areas for their next meal.

Though most human-bear interactions occur in the late summer months, a late frost or prolonged dry weather could lead to localized natural food failures, pushing black bears to be more persistent in their search for human-food sources. Being bear aware not only protects your home and property, but it can also save a bear’s life.

“Our area staff worked hard this winter to get some rehabilitated orphaned cubs back into the wild and give them a second chance at life in the wild,” said Kristin Cannon, area wildlife manager for Area 2, covering Boulder and Estes Park. ”The hard reality is that most orphaned cubs lose their mother due to humans being careless with trash and feed. When a bear has easy access to garbage or pet food, the need for calories will trump that animal’s natural fear of humans. Unfortunately, that makes bear conflicts much more likely to occur.”

We all play a role in minimizing interactions with bears by establishing strong bear-aware habits that can help prevent conflicts throughout the year.

For more information about Living with Bears in Colorado, visit https://cpw.state.co.us/bears

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