I’ve heard several people mention they’ve seen bears in the neighborhood, hungry and driven by their need to eat, with garbage being the biggest attractant. Why garbage? Because bears find more calories by picking through our garbage then they can find foraging in an entire day!
When bears find a food source, they are intelligent and over time will gradually lose their fear of humans, sometimes becoming bolder and aggressive around people. They will continue to forage in the food area until the food is removed, and it may take several weeks for them to move to another area. Unfortunately, once bears become dependent upon this unnatural food source, their chance of survival are reduced. They are food conditioned and are often killed by vehicle collisions, illegal shootings or bear management practices. Sometimes they can be relocated but that is not always an option.
Good bear practices are to secure your household garbage so they cannot get to it and if you have garbage pickup, put it out that morning. If need be, use commercial bear-resistant garbage containers. Protect your gardens, compost and livestock, and feed pets indoors. If you have bird feeders, make them bear-resistant, and store your bird seed inside. A bear will enjoy the 87,000 calories a 50 pound bag of bird seed provides! And keep in mind that any tempting item can be detected by bears as they have a nose so sensitive they can smell food five miles away.
After a barbeque, burn any remaining food from the grill, clean it and put the grill away. Bears will smell the residue and explore the grill for any remaining items. For vehicles, don’t leave any food, trash, coolers or things that smell in your car. I’ve heard many a story where a bear entered the car looking for that scrap of leftover from a fast food joint which was only a wrapper.
For more information on living with Bears, visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife site: http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/LivingWithWildlife/Mammals/Pages/LivingWithBearsL1.aspx. There is great information on how to coexist with our big Bear neighbors.
Till next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz, provides mobile Canine Massage, PawQuatics, Canine Agility and Petz Nanny Services. Her home-made dog treats are sold at local stores, and 4TheLuvOfDogz K9Birthday Cakes are available directly from her. Deb Petz Nanny’s for dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, etc. Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or firstname.lastname@example.org.