MANITOU SPRINGS — You don’t have to live in Colorado long to realize bears aren’t afraid to call the city home. They have no problem inviting themselves into our cars, our dumpsters and they’ve even been known to pay us some visits at our News5 studios from time to time.
But you also don’t have to live here long to know that they can damage much more than just property with one of the most recent incidents happening this past Thursday in the heart of Manitou Springs.
“A young woman was walking home from work, turned the corner, saw a bear and gave it plenty of space,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife Assistant Area Wildlife Manager Cody Wigner.
She did the right thing and kept her distance.
“That bear for no reason charged her when she turned around to get of the way. The bear knocked her down and in the process scratched her back,” Wigner said.
Luckily, the woman survived. But on Saturday, the bear had to be put down.
“Honestly, it’s the hardest part of our job. No one likes to do it,” Wigner said.
Nearby residents told Colorado Parks and Wildlife that the bear had a habit of rummaging through trash cans. CPW is using the incident to serve as a lesson: trash kills bears and you should avoid leaving it outside at all costs.
CPW recommends if you have an enclosed garage you should, at a minimum, be keeping your trash can in there. But, even still, that alone isn’t always good enough. Another good rule of thumb is to make sure your garage door is latched nice and tight when you’re not using it.
CPW says waiting until the morning of pick up to put your trash out cuts the chance of a bear visit from 70%, down to 2%.
Even if you are keeping your trash inside, that still may not be enough to keep those bears from trying to find a way in. Which is why it’s always a good idea to keep your ground-level windows all the way shut and latched.
But on Sunday at the site of the attack in Manitou Springs, trash cans were still outside, free for the taking.
“Definitely something of this nature is very concerning and needs to be taken very seriously,” Wigner said.
Even with all that in mind, even if you do everything right. You still may find yourself face to face with a bear at some point. If that ever happens, CPW says to always keep your distance, walk slow, make yourself as big as possible, and never, ever start running.
They say, even if you live in the city, it is always a good idea to walk in groups at night and keep some bear spray handy.