CPW: 5,000 bear-related calls so far this year; 88 bears euthanized

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DENVER — Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers have euthanized 88 bears so far in 2019.

In 2017, the total number of bears euthanized was more than double that: 216. In 2016, 36 bears were euthanized.

CPW gets multiple calls daily regarding bears.

“So far this year, we’re coming up close on about 5,000 calls reporting on bears,” said Jason Clay, a CPW spokesperson.

Of those 5,000 calls, 88 ended with the bears being euthanized.

“Eighty-eight bears is less than 2 percent of our reports on bears,” Clay said.

Less than 2 percent provides some perspective. However, like many Coloradans, wildlife officers still have trouble coming to terms with euthanizing animals.

“We’re not just robots. We’re not immune to anything, so it’s a tough deal for our officers,” Clay said. “They don’t like it but we fall back on our mission and directives, and a lot of times it is erring on community safety.”

Last week, CPW managed to balance safety for the Castle Pines community and two orphaned cubs. Officers relocated the two cubs orphaned cubs to southwest Douglas County in an area with good foliage, something they’ll need to survive the next few months before hibernation.

“They’ll be active 20 hours a day. They’ll be eating 20,000 calories,” Clay said.

Officials say longer winters or freezes can have an impact on the number of bears euthanized. However, the best way to keep both humans and bears safe is putting away the bird feeders and garbage, and keeping garage doors closed.

Nicole Fierro wrote this report.

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