Division of Wildlife officials say bears are waking up, and are turning up in Colorado Springs’ neighborhoods looking for an easy meal.
Recent sightings of a mother bear(sow) and three cubs in the Rockrimmon area have been reported to the DOW.
When bears get close to neighborhoods, they're usually thinking with their stomachs. Experts say it’s natural after months of hibernation.
"Following that, they're going to become the eating machines that they are," said DOW Officer Steve Cooley.
Cooley expects another season of close encounters.
"Every year I've been here in the last 10 years the number of bear calls has increased," he said.
Last year the DOW office in Colorado Springs took nearly 900 calls of bear sightings in local neighborhoods. The animals can find a meal among the trash, or even bird food left in a feeder.
Cooley said that can begin a potentially dangerous chain of events.
"If it can smell food, it loses its fear of humans,” Cooley said. “From there it loses its fear of maybe entering a house and from there, we have a bear we can't relocate anymore, it's become a public safety hazard."
Now that the bears are waking up, wildlife officials say locking up food temptations is the neighborly thing to do.
The following are some suggestions from the Division of Wildlife:
-Don't leave trash or recycling outside overnight.
-Put away any leftover bird seed, or bird feeders.
-Burn food off all barbecue grills and clean them after each use.
For a complete list of bear behaviors and things to know about the animals, click the link below.