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Hungry bears emerge from hibernation in La Plata County

Remember to keep food and trash out of reach
A bear makes off with trash from an unlatched bear-proof dumpster in town. Bears are waking up near Durango, and it’s important to keep trash secure to deter bears from coming into residential areas.

Bears are waking up in La Plata County, so it’s a good time to take down bird feeders and be vigilant about using a bear-proof trash can.

Four bears have been spotted this month and reported to Bear Smart Durango, said Bryan Peterson, executive director of the nonprofit education group.

When his group started collecting bear activity data in 2007 mid-April was typical for the first reports of the year.

Bear reports in March are more unusual, he said.

It could be that there is an increased awareness among residents to report bear sightings or that bears know where to find human food, he said.

One of the bears was seen in Forest Lakes on Saturday investigating a truck, said Jacquelyn Kovach.

The bear might have broken in if her husband hadn’t locked the door, she said. Bears have been seen near Hesperus and Lemon Reservoir as well, Peterson said.

To keep bears away from residential areas, using a bear proof trash is the most important step residents can take.

“Trash is by far the leading attractant that brings bears into the residential areas,” Peterson said.

Food and drinks in vehicles also can attract bears.

Reporting bear sightings to Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Bear Smart Durango can help the groups prevent and understand conflicts between bears and humans.

“Where there’s active bears there’s typically human food sources that could be cleaned up,” he said.


To report a bear

Aggressive bears can be reported to Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 247-0855.

If you see a bear passing by, it can be reported to Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 247-0855 or Bear Smart Durango at 749-4262. Residents can also use an online form at http://bearsmartdurango.org/report-a-bear-sighting/

City residents can report bears raiding trash bins to code enforcement officers at 375-4930. County residents can report similar trash raids to dispatch at 385-2900.

Apr 28, 2016
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