Agency: Residents should remember to keep food from bears

The shooting of an aggressive bear in the Forest Lakes subdivision calls attention to the responsibility of residents to eliminate fodder for foraging bears, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman said Thursday.

An 18-month-old male bear was killed July 20 by a wildlife officer when it emerged from the fourth house it had broken into that day, Joe Lewandowski said.

The bear was identified by an ear tag it received when it was trapped as part of a study of the area’s bears.

The study started last year. Sows are followed by radio collar to track their habits and procreation. Males are tagged for identification.

“We’d heard about an aggressive bear in Forest Lakes last summer,” Lewandowski said.

The bear had been finding food in the unsecured Dumpster of a lodge in the area, Lewandowski said. When the receptacle was made bear-proof, the ursine turned to houses in the subdivision.

“Our concern is people who make food available to wildlife,” Lewandowski said. “There is no reason to feed birds because there’s plenty of natural food this time of year.”

Bird seed has a high caloric content, making it a prime attraction to bears, Lewandowski said. Some residents say bears have climbed onto their deck railing to reach bird feeders.

Garbage cans should be cleaned with ammonia to eliminate smell, Lewandowski said.

A bear broke into one garage through a pet door to investigate a smelly garbage can.

Lewandowski said the agency can levy a $70 fine for making food available for bears. A fine would follow a warning, he said.

daler@durangoherald.com

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