With September comes the fall colors, pumpkin spice — and bears foraging for food before hibernating.
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The bears are out more than usual this time of year, which means people need to be more vigilant. In the last two weeks, a bear was killed by a vehicle on Evergreen Parkway near Stagecoach Boulevard, and another bear was tranquilized and moved out of downtown Evergreen after getting into trash.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Joey Livingston said a male bear was killed on Sept. 17 on Evergreen Parkway. While he didn’t have many details about the incident, he said the bear was between 4 and 8 years old based on the animal’s teeth.
Wild Aware, an Evergreen nonprofit trying to lower human/wildlife interactions, has been working with CPW and the Colorado Department of Transportation for the past two years to find better ways to keep wildlife safe on Evergreen Parkway between Safeway and Bergen Park. Christie Greene, Wild Aware’s founder, said so far little has been done.
Another bear had been getting in the trash at the Wildflower Café, Maya’s Cantina and Beau Jo’s, according to downtown business owners, so he needed to be relocated on Sept. 13.
Livingston said CPW officers needed help from Evergreen Fire/Rescue to lift the bear after he was tranquilized. The bear had become so habituated to getting into the trash that he no longer ran away when confronted by people, he said.
“When the bears start feeling too comfortable, that’s when it becomes a recipe for disaster,” Livingston said. “We want bears to be scared of people and not hanging around urban areas.”
Livingston said bears usually are transported 60 to 100 miles before being released into remote areas.
The Evergreen Downtown Business Association will have a discussion with Wild Aware to brainstorm solutions about the trash situation in downtown Evergreen.
Jim Wales, EDBA president, said bears are creating an unsafe situation for employees who are taking out the trash, and the problem is that the eight restaurants in downtown don’t have a lot of room for large trash bins since they are caught between a rock wall on the north and Bear Creek on the south. Some of the businesses don’t have the space to put in large bear-resistant trash containers near their restaurants, he noted.
“We’re in the early stages of finding solutions,” Wales said. “We are now trying to get people informed and to see if we as a community can get together and create new ways to protect everybody.”
Livingston said this time of year especially, people should keep trash, bird seed and any human food in enclosures, so the bears eat natural foods. According to Colorado Parks & Wildlife, one study showed that simply putting trash out the morning of pickup cuts the chances of a bear visit from 70% to 2%.
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