Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers euthanize dangerous bear

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers euthanized a bear in Steamboat Springs Thursday that had lost its fear of humans, was entering homes in search of food and had become a threat to human health and safety.

At noon on Sept. 14, a medium-sized black bear with brown fur entered an east side of Steamboat Springs home through an unlocked sliding glass door and received a large food reward from the homeowner’s refrigerator.

The homeowner reported to wildlife officers that the same bear had ripped out the front screen of the house the previous day and had gotten into another home in the neighborhood.

The wildlife officer believed this bear had become habituated to human food, rather than natural nuts, berries and grasses bears normally eat in the wild, and set a bear trap at the location.

“A 200-pound bear in hyperphagia that has no fear of entering a home in search of food is a dangerous bear that poses an imminent threat to humans,” said Area Wildlife Manager Kris Middledorf. “Luckily, this bear hadn’t entered an occupied home yet. A wild bear in a confined space with humans would be very dangerous for the homeowners. Unfortunately, we’ve had several similar situations in Steamboat Springs recently.”

At 6:45 a.m. on Sept. 16, the bear returned, was caught in the trap and identified by the homeowner. Wildlife officers responded and euthanized the bear.

On Sept. 7, another bear on the east side of Highway 40 in Steamboat Springs was put down after gaining entry to a food reward through an unlocked garage.

“It’s important to be diligent this time of year and secure any attractants you might have around your home,” said CPW Public Information Officer Travis Duncan, “especially in areas where there is known bear activity.”

Black bears in Colorado are entering hyperphagia and will spend up to 20 hours a day trying to eat more than 20,000 calories to fatten up for winter. As bears start to prepare for hibernation and hunt for food, Coloradans may see more bear activity in urban areas. Coloradans should be careful to secure attractants and food sources around their house that can attract bears.

For more information on bears in Colorado, visit cpw.state.co.us/bears. If you have questions or need to report bear problems, call your nearest CPW office.