COLORADO — According to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, there have already been several reports of bear activity in eight Colorado counties in 2020.
Currently, the bears are beginning to wake up from hibernation and are starting their search for foods like grasses, aspen buds and other vegetative matter that are beginning to sprout.
CPW is asking the public to do their part, making sure Colorado black bears do not eat from trash receptacles, bird feeders or other human-provided food sources around homes.
“Every time a bear gets a treat, a bird feeder, a hummingbird feeder, trash, it teaches the bear that people mean food,” said Mark Lamb, CPW’s Area Wildlife Manager for South Park and the west Metro Denver area. “People who think that it's one time, no big deal, are totally wrong. It is a big deal when you compound that ‘one time’ with how many ‘one time’ they get from your neighbors, too. It adds up.”
Last year, CPW received 5,369 human-bear incident reports with nearly a third of those involving bears in trash. Wildlife experts are hoping to see a reduction in negative human-bear interactions across the state.
A reminder to Colorado Springs residents and businesses west of I-25, a new ordinance regarding bears and trash has already gone into effect this past March.
The new city ordinance requires Colorado Springs residents and businesses west of I-25 to secure their trash in two ways: Securing their trash in a garage, shed or other secure structure or for those who cannot store their trash in a secured structure, they will need to obtain a bear-resistant trash can.
Complaints of bear activity in a neighborhood due to unsecured trash will be investigated, and should a violation be substantiated, a written notice, order and assessment of administrative fee(s) to the owner or agent of the owner and occupant shall be issued. Citations will be in writing and personally served whenever feasible to the owner, agent of the owner, and/or occupant of the premises. Violations start at $100, then $250 for your second violation and $500 for a third and subsequent violation.
For more information about Living with Bears in Colorado, visit https://cpw.state.co.us/bears.