DENVER (KDVR) — A bear that was captured, tagged and released back into the wilderness returned on multiple occasions and showed aggression at one point, forcing Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers to euthanize the animal.
CPW said the subadult black bear was first found in June when it attempted to get into trash looking for food in south Boulder. The bear was ear-tagged and released into the wild away from the human population, a CPW release said.
The bear was spotted a few weeks later doing the same thing on 16th Street. Boulder Animal Protection officers pepper sprayed the bear repeatedly to no avail.
In another instance, CPW officers deployed two Taser hits but that didn’t phase the bear, and it charged aggressively at wildlife officers. The release said a CPW officer shot the charging bear with a rubber bullet to stop its advance but it ran away.
Each instance occurred in the middle of the day, which was alarming to CPW since it is an unusual time for a bear to be spotted rummaging through a neighborhood.
On Wednesday, the bear was spotted, once again, on 16th Street and Baseline Road. CPW officers identified it as the same repeat offender by its ear tag and chose to euthanize it due to its previous aggressive behavior and repeated return to the city for the safety of the humans that live in the area.
“Working with the city of Boulder, we did absolutely everything we could think of to avoid this outcome,” CPW officer Tyler Asnicar said. “At the end of the day, human safety is our priority so we felt we had to remove the bear.”
A black bear was caught on the University of Colorado Boulder campus on Tuesday, as well, but CPW officers were able to release it back into the wild as it had not harmed anyone and didn’t show aggression. It was also the first issue the department had with the black bear.
“In this instance we just had a bear that found itself in a busy part of town on a college campus. We moved it to try to reduce the chance it would have a negative encounter with people and to give it the opportunity to find a better, more natural habitat,” Asnicar said.
Be bear aware and bearproof your home, surroundings
CPW estimates 17,000 to 20,000 black bears live in Colorado. The best way humans can avoid conflict or encounters with bears outside of their habitat is to be bear-aware. CPW’s site suggests:
- Don’t feed bears, and don’t put out food for other wildlife that attracts bears.
- Be responsible about trash and bird feeders.
- Burn food off barbeque grills and clean after each use.
- Keep all bear-accessible windows and doors closed and locked, including home, garage and vehicle doors.
- Don’t leave food, trash, coolers, air fresheners or anything that smells in your vehicle.
- Pick fruit before it ripens, and clean up fallen fruit.
- Talk to your neighbors about doing their part to be bear responsible.
The best thing to do if a resident spots a bear near their home is to make loud noises to try and scare it away but never to approach it.