BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. -- If the weather continues to stay warm, thousands of bears in Colorado will begin to wake up from a long winter’s nap.
The state estimates its bear population at about 10,000 to 13,000. Aspen and Snowmass tend to be the most popular locations, but there are plenty of them around foothill communities such as Boulder.
“This is absolutely the time of year when people need to start bringing in the bird feeders, clean up the areas where bears might be getting in to,” said Jennifer Churchill with Colorado Parks & Wildlife.
Churchill says it might sound repetitive, but it’s important for people to make sure their trash is locked up. Several communities have passed ordinances to make it mandatory. Churchill says locking up trash will help keep bears away and ultimately help save the animals’ lives.
“Basically those folks have put in different ordinances that have saved the lives of bears and Snowmass went from killing scores of bears to two in recent years,” Churchill said.
In 2014, the state had to put down 172 bears, many because humans provided them with access to food. Once bears know where food is, they will return to the same place, becoming pesky.
“Unfortunately, two years ago we had a really large bear that was found with food still wrapped in plastic and diapers. They will eat that kind of stuff,” Churchill said.
Colorado Parks & Wildlife says to take down bird feeders for the season (they can go back up after Thanskgiving), lock up trash, don't leave out pet foot and if you see a bear, make loud noises to scare it off.