Outsmart The Bears
Do you recall the "bear attack" that prompted the DOW to put down a bear earlier this summer? Unfortunately, the incident occurred all because a bear followed its nose. A man, whom happened to be sleeping outside near the Animas River, was bitten by a bear in the early morning hours (2:30am). Subsequently, this bear was put down. An autopsy identified contents of his stomach included an ice cream container, a package of meat, and other human food.
Bears coming into our neighborhoods is a community issue- it's up to all of us to do something to keep the bears out of town. Because bears are simply animals seeking whatever food they can find, we need to prevent conflicts. Therefore, we all need to take more responsibility for our garbage, tree fruit/garden vegetables and kitchen compost. Entities like the Division of Wildlife and BearSmart Durango, are trying to mitigate the bear "problem" by educating folks in our community.
Here are 5 things you can do to reduce the likeliness of bears voraciously scavenging through our neighborhoods:
- Be Bear Smart: Bears move seasonally to take advantage of the most abundant, high-energy food that is available. Come August, bears make their way into our communities. Especially communities/homes where they know they've gotten good nutrition in the past. At the same time, their feeding behaviors change- as winter and hibernation is quickly approaching. Learn more at bearsmartdurango.com
- Pick Fruit Early & Keep it Off the Ground: Unfortunately, fruit sometimes falls faster than we can keep up with it. If you limit the availability, you limit the bears taking advantage of it. This same advice goes for your garden and kitchen waste.
- Take Care of Your Trash: Bears are addicted to human food because it is highly digestible, highly nutritious, and loaded with calories. It's a perfect resource for adding on the necessary fat they need to get them through winter hibernation. Buy a trash can that locks, or tether yours down with tie-downs and/or rope. If at all possible, secure trash in a building or storage site where a bear cannot access it. And, finally clean your trash can regularly with solution of water and bleach or ammonia.
- Never Approach a Bear: If you see a wild bear, call your partner and your kids to see it too- but observe from a distance. Bears will generally exit without causing trouble. If you believe they are posing a human safety problem, call dispatch at 385-2900.
- Repeat Next Year: Bears tend to return to sites where they were able to access food the previous year. Just because they weren't in your yard this year- doesn't mean they won't be next. Don't become lackadaisical, continue taking care of your trash, fruit, compost, etc. and the likelihood of them returning will diminish over time.