Wildlife officials continue to euthanize high number of bears

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GOLDEN, Colo. -- More bears are being put down in the state every year, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

As more people move to Colorado, wildlife officials say human-bear interactions are increasing. That means more bears are being put down than ever before.

Last year, 82 bears were put down after a record year in 2017 when more than 200 had to be euthanized.

Officials say a late freeze that year wiped out bears' food source, pushing them into neighborhoods.

In most cases, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will try to relocate a bear before putting it down.

But that is rarely successful because once a bear is comfortable around humans, they tend to stay that way.

"That's why we encourage folks, if you know there's bear coming into your yard to bang pots and pans to scare it off," Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Travis Duncan said.

"Never get in the way of it leaving, but a confident attitude and being loud and scaring that bear away is going to do good things both for the bear and for your neighborhood."

In addition to the usual spots such as Boulder and Golden, wildlife officials are seeing more bears relocated and destroyed in places such as Highlands Ranch, Castle Rock and Larkspur.

Officials say some easy steps involve closing garage doors at night, waiting until the morning to put out trash and taking down bird feeders or any other food source that could draw bears to properties.

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