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Bear with intestinal blockage euthanized, stomach full of garbage

A necropsy determined that a black bear had garbage in its stomach, causing officials to say it was a "horrific way to die."
Bear with intestinal blockage euthanized, stomach full of garbage
Posted at 11:42 AM, Sep 22, 2023

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said last week that a 400-pound black bear had to be euthanized due to an intestinal blockage caused by excessive garbage. 

Officials received a report earlier this month of an ill bear near a river trail in Telluride, Colorado. They said the bear "acted feverish and had puffy eyes and discharge coming from its eyes and mouth." Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials also determined the bear was in a lot of pain. 

Colorado Parks and Wildlife decided that night to euthanize the bear, which they said had been hazed away from public spaces by law enforcement in the past.

The next day, a necropsy determined that the bear had garbage in its stomach.

“The bear could not digest food and was very sick,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife area wildlife manager Rachel Sralla. “It all comes back to trash, which we talk about too often when it comes to bear conflicts in Colorado. The reason we had to put this bear down was to end its suffering that was caused by eating indigestible trash.”

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Officials said there were a wide range of items found in the bear's stomach. 

“The removal of the stomach and intestines showed that the bear was starving due to a plug of paper towels, disinfectant wipes, napkins, parts of plastic sacks and wax paper food wrappers in the pylorus,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife district wildlife manager Mark Caddy. “This plug was accompanied by French fries, green beans, onions and peanuts. The small and large intestines were empty of matter. The intestines were enlarged due to bacteria in the beginning stages of decomposition, but we opened them up in several locations and found no digested food matter.”

Officials said the bear's death is a reminder to secure trash and avoid contact with bears. 

Sralla called the bear's passing a "horrific way to die, decaying from the inside out for that long."

American black bears live all throughout the U.S., especially in the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains. 

The National Park Service said bears heavily rely on their sense of smell to lead them to food. 

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