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Three bears have been euthanized in September in Steamboat Springs after entering unlocked homes

Study shows how human food affects black bears
Posted at 3:27 PM, Sep 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-21 17:27:22-04

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — For the third time this month, wildlife officers had to euthanize a black bear in Steamboat Springs that had become accustomed to trying — sometimes successfully — to enter homes in search of food.

On Sept. 17 and 18, multiple homeowners near Valverdant Drive, on the east side of Steamboat Springs, reported an aggressive bear had tried to enter their homes, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). On the morning of Sept. 17, the bear successfully got into a house through a sliding glass door and ate food from the fridge, cupboards and trash. The owner was not home, but reported the bear returned later that evening looking for more.

The following morning, CPW wildlife officers received a report of a bear that had tried to enter a home through a window and while it tore the screens, it was unable to get inside.

“We set a trap for this bear because a bear in hyperphagia that has no fear of entering a home in search of food is a dangerous bear that poses an immediate threat to humans,” said CPW Area Wildlife Manager Kris Middledorf.

The bear was caught while trying to enter another home on the afternoon of Sept. 18. It was euthanized.

This was the third black bear in Steamboat Springs to be euthanized this month. On Sept. 7, a bear entered a home near downtown Steamboat and ended up stuck in the home, with the residents trapped in an upstairs room. The bear was aggressive when wildlife officers arrived and was put down for human safety, CPW said. The bear had a broken lower jaw, which may have been why it had turned to human food sources, CPW said.

On Sept. 16, wildlife officers euthanized another bear that had lost its fear of humans and was entering homes searching for food. It had entered a home through an unlocked sliding glass door and found a large amount of food in the refrigerator. The homeowner was not home. A trap was set and on Sept. 16, the bear was caught and euthanized.

While calls about black bears are down statewide this year, CPW said Routt Coutt has seen an increase in bear-related calls since the start of hyperphagia, when bears try to eat 20,000 or more calories each day to fatten up for winter.

CPW said Coloradans should be careful to secure any attracts and to lock all windows and doors to their homes.