MEEKER, Colo. — Colorado Parks & Wildlife said a bear that was relocated after eating trash in Steamboat Springs would need to be put down if it returned to a residential area for food. And on Monday, it did just that.
Wildlife officials in Colorado said they killed the 2-year-old black bear near Meeker because it had been disturbing a farmer's beehive, according to the Steamboat Pilot & Today.
The bear had been relocated from Steamboat Springs on April 8 after rummaging through trash for several days and nearing a preschool. Mike Porras with CPW said the police department in Steamboat Springs had received up to six calls a day about the bear, which had been eating out of unsecured trash bins.
If a bear finds a steady source of trash, it may stay in the area and learn to rely on humans for food, Porras said. And bears that are comfortable around people are dangerous.
Securing trash in a bear-proof container is an important way to prevent them from hanging out in communities, he said. In almost all cases, bears get into trash because the containers aren't secured or the resident doesn't know they need to secure the bins.
“Every year, this is a reoccurring message,” Porras told Denver7. “CPW puts this out every year at this time — to remind folks that this is a very serious issue. This is not something people should overlook. A bear can easily injure or kill a person. It’s a serious concern for our agency. When people feed wildlife, it’s basically sentencing that animal to death. It’s our officers that have carry out that execution.”
When the bear was first relocated, Porras said he hoped it would stay away from humans and learn to find natural food, but knew it would be tough.
CPW is continuing to encourage people who live in bear habitats to secure their trash, bird food pet food, bird seed and other attractants. When bears start to see those as easy food sources, it becomes a danger to all involved, he said.
This is the first bear killed in Colorado this year, according to Steamboat Pilot & Today.
For more information on living with Colorado bears, visit www.CPW.state.co.us/bears.