Be ‘bear aware’: Tips for safety as hungry bears come out of hibernation

Local News

BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — The City of Boulder is reminding residents to be ready for bears as they make their way out of hibernation this spring:

“City staff encourages community members to help protect bears by ensuring trash containers are locked, per city ordinance, because bears that come into town for food and find it are more likely to stay. If they stay, bears are at risk of being killed for a number of reasons, including being hit by vehicles, being electrocuted by power poles, ingesting harmful chemicals and losing their natural fear of people, which may get them euthanized by wildlife officers to protect public safety.”  

City of Boulder

The first bear spotted this year was on Spring Valley Road in mid-March.

“We’ve had bears in our yards many times,” Karen Tyler, a long-time resident of Boulder said.

Tyler stated her family checks their trash and compost cans each night to make sure they are secure, so bears aren’t attracted to come near their home. 

The city requires bear-resistant trash containers to be used west of Broadway and south of Sumac Avenue anytime trash and compost are put out for collection. Bear-resistant containers are required everywhere in the city if trash and compost are put out the night before pickup. If you don’t follow these rules, you could receive a fine.

“It is $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second offense and $500 for the third offense,” Cate Stanek with the City of Boulder said.

The city also wants residents to keep an eye on their livestock, such as chickens and goats, and also their family pets and children when they are outside.

“We really do want to protect them since we are living with them,” Stanek said.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is also reminding all Coloradans who live in bear habitat areas to be BEAR AWARE. This after a woman outside Durango was found dead after being killed officials believe by a mother bear in the area.

“It’s a sad reminder that bears are wild and dangerous animals,” Jason Clay with CPW said.

Clay said the best thing to do is be prepared by having bear mace or an airhorn with you’re while hiking. If you run into a bear, he said to make yourself look big by opening a jacket. He said move away from the bear but don’t run. You can also talk firmly to the bear and even throw rocks or sticks if the bear doesn’t back down.

“That being said, bears that are fed by humans lose that natural fear, and they can become aggressive and demanding looking for food,” Clay said.

If you see a bear you can report the sighting to either CPW or the Inquire Boulder website.

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