Bear chased out of residential area near Greeley; residents urged to clear property of food sources

GREELEY, Colo. - Authorities in Weld County said a black bear on Monday morning rummaged through some garbage and looked through windows in a residential neighborhood west of Greeley.

The bear was spotted near Weld County Road 15 and U.S. Highway 34 before Department of Wildlife Officers encouraged the 100 pound animal to travel south back towards its habitat, according to the Weld County Sheriff's Office.

The bear worked its way up a tree at the corner of Weld County Road 157 and U.S. 34 before heading through the parking lot of Peak Kia and leaving the area south of the highway, the Greeley Tribune reported.

Troy Florian, district wildlife manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, told the newspaper that he used a non-lethal bean bag round to entice the bear to move, but that the bear was not aggressive.

"He learned pretty quick he didn't want to be around people," Florian told the Tribune.

The Sheriff's Office said the bear incident is a good reminder for citizens that live near a bear habitat to inspect their property for food sources that could attract hungry bears. When a bear's food sources are scarce they can be tempted by compost, garbage, livestock feed, birdseed and dog food.

The Weld County Sheriff's Office would also like to remind citizens that if they come into contact with a bear to "not panic." Never approach the bear and always leave the bear an escape route. Citizens also should leave the area and go inside until the bear leaves on its own.

Some tips for avoiding bear conflicts:

1. Do not leave food from barbecues and picnics outdoors, especially overnight. Coolers are not bear proof.

2. Replace bird feeders with hanging flower baskets.

3. Store pet food inside and feed pets inside. If pets must be fed outdoors, feed them only as much as they will eat.

4. Limit compost piles to grass, leaves and garden clippings, and turn piles regularly

5. Store garbage in bear-resistant garbage cans or dumpsters. Rubber or plastic garbage cans are not bear-proof.

6. Keep garbage inside a secure building until the morning of pickup

Click for a full list of bear safety tips from Colorado Parks and Wildlife: http://ch7ne.ws/1o0t73P.

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