Raton receives 650 new bear resistant trash dumpsters

RATON – The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the City of Raton have installed 650 bear-resistant trash dumpsters to discourage bears from frequenting the town in search of food.

“The collaborative project has been a huge success,” said Scott Berry, Raton’s city manager. “The new containers have provided numerous benefits, including decreased operating costs associated with cleanup, a cleaner city and a healthier environment for the area’s wildlife.”

The department partnered with the city to buy the custom-built dumpsters and contributed about $382,500 to the effort. The city provided another $213,000, said Bob Osborn, the department’s assistant chief of private lands programs.

Bears have been raiding Raton’s trash dumpsters for years and the department frequently was called to deal with them. The city came up with a bear-resistant trash dumpster design that worked with its trash collection vehicles. The city and department pitched in to get them built and distributed.

“This is a good example of how we can work with communities to address wildlife issues in a mutually beneficial manner,” Osborn said.

Residents can find instructions on how to operate the new dumpsters on the city’s website, www.ratonnm.gov. For more information on living in bear country, please visit the department’s website, www.wildlife.state.nm.us.