Bear activity on the rise due to drought

CREEDE- Brent Woodward, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) District Ranger spoke to the Mineral County Miner July 21 and discussed the recent bear activity in town. According to Woodward, the bear population in Creede is something that small mountain towns deal with on a regular basis but that numbers this year are especially high due to the drought conditions.

“We are starting to get some rain now, but because of the high temperatures and low precipitation, we have had a higher number of bears coming to the area looking for food. We had one yearling sleeping in trees around town for the last several weeks and we couldn’t do much about it until we caught him out of the tree. We were finally able to dart it, tag it and relocate the bear about 50 miles outside of Creede, and can only hope that it stays there and doesn’t come back. Several people thought it was a cub, but it wasn’t. It was about a year and half old, small but not a cub,” said Woodward.

Woodward continued to explain that the CPW is watching about five bears in the area and all they can do is watch and wait. “As long as people keep leaving their trash exposed, we are going to have this problem. We have bears every year but until we solve the trash issue, this is going to continue.”

Woodward stated that the lack of food is what has numbers rising this year. “The hot temperatures a few weeks ago really took a toll on the local berries. It either killed the bushes or it stunted their growth, so the bear’s natural food source has been compromised. We really need to work on making Creede and the surrounding area less attractive. If you leave out trash cans, hummingbird feeders or other material that is attractive to bears, then you will have bears. They are dangerous.”

Woodward stated that last week he and his crew had to find and trap a bear near Miner’s Creek just outside of Creede that had broken into a vehicle. “Once we had trapped it we found out that it was tagged a few years ago and relocated but he came back. Once a bear starts to break into vehicles or homes, we have no other choice than to put the animal down. It’s an unfortunate situation but if people don’t start taking care, these animals can become dangerous.”

Woodward continued to state that he was hoping to start conversations with the City of Creede and talk to them about the possibility of making bearproof trash cans a requirement. “We haven’t had the conversation yet, but I am hoping to speak with town board members soon and see if we can’t get a handle on this issue. There is nothing I can do until something is done about the trash.”

Bears who consume trash are susceptible to disease, worms and other conditions outside of the fact that they become dependent on humans for food. It is highly dangerous to have bears in populated areas in large numbers. CPW strongly urges the community to use bear proof containers and properly dispose of trash, as well as, bringing in hummingbird feeders at night to discourage bears from visiting.



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