ASPEN — Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced Friday that officials have trapped and killed the bear involved in an attack last weekend on a restaurant manager in Aspen.
CPW said wildlife officers located the bear in town limits the day after the attack. DNA test results confirmed it was the same bear that bit the man after he tried to haze it out of the restaurant's dumpster. A necropsy revealed the male bear weigh about 400 pounds, was healthy, and did not have rabies, according to CPW.
The day after the attack, officers received a report of a large bear that matched the description of the one they were looking for. They tracked that bear to a second-story balcony of a business near where the attack occurred and were able to dart it.
CPW said officers made a field determination that they had found the target bear based on descriptions provided by the victim. The bear's teeth were also measured while it was immobilized and they matched the bite wounds sustained by the victim. The bear was then taken back to the local CPW office, where it was euthanized.
CPW Officer Matt Yamashita said that because the bear was so large, had attacked a person, and continued to roam in town limits, it was "clearly a serious threat to people."
"A bear this size and unafraid of humans could have easily killed a person with little effort," said Yamashita. "It's unfortunate this bear had to die for this reason, especially when you consider it was totally preventable. Based on our experience, there was no chance this bear could be rehabilitated after it bit a person."
According to CPW, wildlife officers say that for every call they receive, there may be up to two or three incidents each night that go unreported.
CPW said that despite high levels of bear activity so far this year, they are just getting started. As the seasons change, bears are entering a state of hyperphagia, which is an instinctive, metabolic change that results in a nearly constant feeding frenzy to prepare for hibernation.
"For some bears, natural foods may not be enough so they will come into human-populated areas in search of an easy meal," said Yamashita. "If bears have easy access to food, they will keep coming back, and that puts people at significant risk.
CPW offers the following tips to prevent bear/human conflicts:
Keep Bears Out
- Close and lock all first-floor windows and doors when you leave the house and at night before you go to bed.
- Install sturdy grates or bars on windows if you must leave them open.
- Keep car doors and windows closed and locked if you park outside. Make sure there’s nothing with an odor in your vehicle, including food wrappers, candy, gum, air fresheners, trash, lotions and lip balms.
- Close and lock garage doors and windows at night and when you’re not home; garage doors should be down if you are in the house but not outside.
- Install extra-sturdy doors if you have a freezer, refrigerator, pet food, birdseed, or other attractants stored in your garage.
- Remove any tree limbs that might provide access to upper-level decks and windows.
- Replace exterior lever-style door handles with good quality round door knobs that bears can’t pull or push open.
Get Rid of Attractants
- Don’t leave trash out overnight unless it’s in an approved bear-proof enclosure or container. Be sure to research all local ordinances and regulations if vacationing.
- Clean your trash cans regularly to remove residual odors.
- Don’t store food of any kind in an unlocked garage, flimsy shed, on or under your deck.
- Don’t leave anything with an odor outside, near open windows or in your vehicle, even if you’re home. That includes scented candles, air fresheners, lip balms and lotions.
- Clean-up thoroughly after picnics in the yard or on the deck, cleaning your BBQ grills after each use. Don't allow food odors to linger.
- Bird feeders are a major bear attractant. Only use bird feeders in winter, when bears are hibernating.
- If you have fruit trees, pick fruit before it gets too ripe. Don't allow fruit to rot on the ground. Electric fences provide good protection for small orchards.
Teach Bears to Remain Wild
- If a bear comes close to your home, scare it away. Loud noises like a firm yell, clapping your hands, banging on pots and pans or blowing an air horn sends most bears running.
- Utilize electric fencing, unwelcome mats and scent deterrents like ammonia to teach bears that your property is not bear-friendly.
- If a bear enters your home, open doors and windows so it can leave the same way it got in. Don’t approach the bear or block escape routes.
- Never approach a bear. If a bear won’t leave, call your local CPW office [state.us10.list-manage.com] or Colorado State Patrol.
- If a bear presents an immediate threat to human safety, call 911.