Bear euthanized after losing fear of humans, breaking into homes

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(Stock photo, Getty Images)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers were forced to euthanize a bear on Saturday.

CPW said the bear lost its fear of humans, was entering homes in search of food, and had become a threat to human health and safety.  

When did it happen?

On Sept. 17 and 18, multiple homeowners living near Valverdant Drive in a neighborhood on the east side of Steamboat Springs reported an aggressive bear attempting to enter their home, according to CPW.

During the first incidence, CPW said the bear entered a home through a sliding glass door after the homeowner had left for the day and received a food reward in the fridge, cupboards and trash. The homeowner returned and reported that the medium-sized black bear with brown fur came back that night around 8:30 p.m. looking for food.

CPW said the officer who responded to the home believes the bear was used to eating human food and would no longer eat natural nuts, berries and grasses bears normally eat in the wild.

The next day, at 8:24 a.m., wildlife officers received a report of a bear that had attempted to enter a home near the trap and had torn out window screens but was unable to get through the closed windows.

“We set a trap for this bear because a bear in hyperphagia that has no fear of entering a home in search of food is a dangerous bear that poses an immediate threat to humans,” said CPW Area Wildlife Manager Kris Middledorf. 

Later that day, the bear was reported at 3:30 p.m. by a homeowner who saw the bear on the deck of the home inspecting doors and windows to try to gain entry. The bear was caught in the trap shortly after the final sighting and identified by the homeowner.

CPW said officers responded and euthanized the bear.

What are the bear numbers

CPW said bear report numbers since the start of hyperphagia indicate the Routt County area is seeing more bear calls this year.

Bear reports received, Aug. 1 – Sept. 18
2019: 1,626 statewide | 36 for Area 10 (includes Routt County)
2020: 1,420 statewide | 20 for Area 10
2021: 689 statewide | 72 for Area 10

“We don’t know for certain yet whether that’s due to drought, lack of natural food sources or even possibly because people have been better at reporting bear conflicts,” Middledorf said.

This is the third bear CPW has euthanized in this area of Steamboat Springs since the beginning of Sept, according to CPW.

CPW is asking residents in Steamboat Springs to be especially diligent about securing trash and other attractants around your home in an area where there is known bear activity.  

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