Boulder group goes on trash patrol to protect bears

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BOULDER, Colo. -- A group of citizens are hitting the streets and alleys of Boulder in the hope of saving bears.

This season, the Front Range is dealing with the worst bear problem it has seen in decades. So the Boulder Bear Coalition is stepping up its efforts prevent the animals from getting into trash and trouble -- and having to be put down.

Wildlife officials have handled 350 bear-related calls this year in Boulder, with 26 having been euthanized. The coalition feels enough is enough so it's hitting the streets.

Just about every morning, people in the coalition have the dirty job of patrolling the alleys, checking for trash violations, which can be prime pickings for bears.

The group takes pictures of the violations for evidence and sends it to the city code enforcement. That can mean a ticket for a homeowner, but it can also mean saving the life of a bear.

“If people get ticketed, they will store their trash," said Brenda Lee with the Boulder Bear Coalition.

The coalition is trying to save one animal known as bear No. 317. The mom has two cubs but she has been in trouble before, and has been tagged and will have to be put down if she gets into trouble again.

The city has handed out almost 100 tickets for trash violations. They can cost a minimum of $250 each.

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