DENVER (KDVR) — New data from Colorado Parks and Wildlife reveals some startling new statistics about the state’s black bear population.
According to wildlife officials, there are 17,000-20,000 black bears living in Colorado.
The new data released Tuesday shows CPW received 5,369 bear calls between April 1 and Dec. 31, 2019.
"We hope having this data to quantify can help change some behavior,” said Jason Clay, a spokesperson for CPW.
According to CPW, the calls are broken down into the following categories:
One-third of all bear reports CPW received in 2019 involved trash. Trash is by far the leading cause of bear habituation, and open dumpsters or trash cans provide an all-you-can-eat buffet when left unsecured.
Bird Feeders: 397
A seven-pound bag of bird seed equates to 12,180 calories for a bear. A 50-pound bag of bird seed has over 87,000 calories — a reward well worth the effort of breaking into your garage.
Other Food Attractants: 1,171
Black bears are omnivores and will eat just about anything. Other major food sources we find around homes that attract bears include fruit trees, bee hives, chicken coops and livestock.
Vehicle Break-Ins: 303
That equals 303 preventable occurrences if people had only kept anything with a scent out of their cars. Imagine the damage a bear would do inside your car and the unwanted “present” it could leave behind.
Dwelling Break-Ins (houses, cabins, garages): 517
This number is certainly conservative as it does not include the many incidences where a bear was reported in a garage after the owner left it open, nor sheds that bears got into to get food. It only accounted for bears in homes, cabins or garages where there was forcible entry.
According to the data, 92 black bears had to be euthanized in 2019; that’s up from 63 in 2018.
"Of the nearly 5,400 reports on bears we had last year, only 1.7% of those resulted in a bear being euthanized,” Clay said.
For more information on the newly released 2019 data, visit CPW's website.