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Bears are back! Young bear caught and released from downtown Colorado Springs

The bear spent hours in a tree in downtown Colorado Springs before wildlife officers got it down.
The bear spent hours in a tree in downtown Colorado Springs before wildlife officers got it down.(KKTV)
Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 9:43 AM MDT|Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 11:29 AM MDT
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Editor’s note: We are only releasing the bear’s location now that the situation is over. When covering bear stories, we will not report where they are taking place until the bear is out of the area, so as not to draw crowds.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - They’re well-rested, they’re hungry, they’re hitting the town.

Yes, bears are back. And if Thursday’s sighting near downtown Colorado Springs is any indication, they are on the move.

As anyone familiar with Colorado knows, it’s important to be a good neighbors with our wildlife. With bear sightings, Colorado Parks and Wildlife says the best way to be a good neighbor to a bear: leave it alone. Too many people can spook bears and sometimes result in dangerous situations for both the animal and bystanders.

“We don’t want crowds,” a CPW spokesperson told 11 News.

CPW says they never want to have intervene with a bear simply living its life. Even in Thursday’s case, when the bear clambered up a tree at the busy Colorado and Pikes Peak intersection, wildlife officials hoped to leave him alone and let come down on his own.

Ultimately, too many people gathered around, and CPW was forced to respond. After assessing the scene, they decided the best course of action was to tranquilize the bear and bring him down.

“Typically if it’s in a non-populated and uncrowded area, we can kind of just get everybody back and let it go back onto his normal routine and when it feels comfortable it will leave,” said CPW District Wildlife Manager Aaron Berscheid. “But in this case, it’s just going to draw attention all day and so when it draws tension all day it’s never going to feel comfortable leaving and it’s going to be some thing that would be an attraction all day so it was just pretty much an unavoidable

The bear will be released back in the wild. Officials assessed the animal and confirmed he had no injuries. They tell 11 News they always check for any injuries before releasing a bear into the wild, as an injured animal wouldn’t be able to survive.

One reason CPW doesn’t want to have to intervene is that once they do, the bear will be tagged and have a strike against it. Multiple strikes can lead to euthanasia, the outcome wildlife officers always want to avoid.

So be a good neighbor and let bears be if you see them out and about. Give them space, don’t shout their location to the world, and leave them in peace.

Another way to help bears live long, happy lives: don’t become a source of food. Bird feeders and garbage cans are easy targets, and if bears become accustomed to such convenient food offerings, that can pose a threat to both humans and the bears. CPW says bears who return to a place to find food from a human source will be food-conditioned and could enter homes, garages, or cars.

Other nuggets of advice from CPW include:

1. Using deterrents

Parks and Wildlife says deterrents can be great way to keep bears away from areas where they have learned there are people. We all live with wildlife, but you want to encourage exploring bears to move on and find a different food source. CPW recommends electronic deterrents like flashing lights, noise makers, alarsm, even sprinkler systems. You can even leave on a radio to make it sound like someone is there or use a scent deterrent. Try using bleach or ammonia-based cleaners on your trash cans.

2. Using enclosures

If you can’t keep your garbage bin locked away, try putting it in a simple enclosure. Parks and Wildlife recommends using a chain-linked fence that has a locking gate, not a latching one.

3. Unwelcome Mats

Unwelcome mats can be very effective at keeping bears away, according to CPW. They are usually made of plywood and have small nails pointing up. CPOW says they can be placed in front of bear-accessible doors and windows.

4. Bear-Safe Bird Feeding

CPW recommends using bird feeders during winter months when bears are hibernating. A bird feeder is an easy food source for bears looking for a high-calorie pay off with little work. CPW says studies show over 80 percent of human-bear conflicts can be traced back to the bear’s first encounter with a bird feeder. CPW recommends bringing your bird feeder inside at night during times when bears are active and keep them out of reach.

Colorado’s ample wildlife is one of the amazing parts of living in this state. Letting our wildlife stay wild is the best way to reside side by side with animals.

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