Sep 4, 2010 7:12 PM by Matt Stafford

Questions on how bears are being handled

Just within the last week, two mother bears and their cubs got inside local homes. Both incidents ended the same way -- all six bears were euthanized.

That's sparked a lot of conversation among those who care about wildlife.

Donna Ralph has been rehabilitating smaller animals for 10 years at the Ellicott Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, and she knows others who do the same.

"We're all very, very sad," Ralph says. "We do talk about this in circles and we wonder why it had to happen? What would be the possibility of them being relocated to a better spot?"

The Colorado Division of Wildlife says that's not an option.

"They crossed a line and become, what's deemed, a dangerous bear," explains Michael Seraphin with the Division of Wildlife. He says once they've learned where to get food, they'll be back.

"They will most likely repeat this behavior no matter where they are moved," Seraphin says.

Wildlife rehabilitators in the state say there were other options out there for the cubs, but realistically, Ralph knows the choices are limited.

"There's only room and habitat and territory for so many," Ralph says.

Wild territory is running out; making bear encounters like these more common -- especially as the bears get ready to hibernate.

The wildlife may be nice to look at, but Ralph says neighbors should leave the animals alone and not try to feed them.

"Ultimately, it ends badly for the very animals they're trying to help," Ralph says.

So for those who enjoy the wildlife, Ralph recommends watching from a distance.

Ralph recommends being extra careful right now by locking up trash and not leaving out pet food. She also says don't forget to clean up after your Labor Day bar-be-que. The smell can be very enticing to bears.


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