Just when you get thirsty in the middle of the night and head to your kitchen to be confronted by a black bear in there….yikes. Don’t feed wildlife, and don’t lure bears to your house. That is a horrible way to try to become famous.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A bear estimated at 225-250 pounds that three times entered a Colorado Springs home and returned repeatedly to the scene during the past week was trapped Friday night by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers and humanely euthanized as required by state policy on dangerous bears.
Last Sunday, the bear walked through an open door into a mud room of a home in the Broadmoor neighborhood, a wooded area known to be prime bear habitat in the southwest foothills of Colorado Springs.
The homeowner found muddy paw prints in the house and closed the door. Before he had left the area the bear had opened the door and was back inside the house. The bear was reluctant to leave their kitchen. Only after yelling and banging pots and pans did the bear retreat and leave the home
The bear returned and entered an open door a third time on Monday.
CPW wildlife officers set up a bear trap and trail camera and found the bear was returning to the home each night around the same time. It returned again Friday and entered the trap. CPW officers responded and confirmed the bear was the same as in the trail cam photos.
The bear was humanely euthanized as mandated for any bear that enters an occupied home.
“It’s extremely fortunate no one was injured by this bear when it confronted the homeowners in the kitchen,” said Tim Kroening, CPW’s Area Wildlife Manager for the Pikes Peak region. “This bear had become habituated to people, associating them as a food source. This created a dangerous situation when the bear was confronted in a confined space in the home.
“Our policy dictates that any bear inside an occupied home is a dangerous bear and must be euthanized.”
Kroening said it was particularly troubling that the bear didn’t turn and run from the homeowners.
“Wild bears are naturally afraid of people and avoid them,” Kroening said. “When a bear learns that human homes are a source of food, they become dangerous to people.
“Imagine encountering a bear in your kitchen. If there is no clear exit available, a tragic confrontation could occur. We can’t risk that happening.”
Releasing the bear is not an option because there’s nowhere it can be taken where it won’t encounter another home.
“Colorado has become so densely populated that it is difficult to find a place to take a bear so that it won’t encounter human homes,” Kroening said.
Kroening said the case remains under investigation because the bear’s behavior indicates it became habituated to people. That only occurs when bears are being fed by people and begin to view them as a source of food. In fact, CPW officers determined one of the homeowners was feeding big game and was cited for attracting big game to their property. The homeowners were also given a warning for luring bears.
“Feeding bears and other wildlife is illegal for a reason,” he said. “It habituates wildlife including bears to people which leads to dangerous situations.
“It is critical that people do their part and stay ‘Bear Aware.’ Please secure your trash, bird feeders and any other attractants so that bears cannot get to them. Keep your doors and ground-level windows closed and locked. Please lock your vehicles as bears are smart enough to figure out how to get into them if they smell something tasty.”
More Bear Aware tips can be found on the CPW website: cpw.state.co.us/bears.