As incidents rise, advocates warn of coming “crisis”
BOULDER» Between 2003 and 2015, wildlife officials tallied 40 instances in which a black bear was either forcibly relocated from Boulder or killed there.
Since the beginning of 2016, no bears have been killed or relocated from Boulder.
There’s growing concern, however, that the city’s run of peaceful bear-human interaction could be broken soon, as communities across the Front Range have seen increased bear activity this summer. As of last week, roughly three dozen bears have been killed in Colorado since the spring — and there’s plenty of time for that number to rise since bears won’t hibernate for another four months.
Bear activity around Boulder also has increased. One bear entered the same Gregory Lane home twice in a two-week span, while another spent most of a day in a tree outside the Bradley Inn. Earlier this month, a bear entered a campsite at Glacier View Ranch and bit a camper twice on his head as the bear tried to pull him from his sleeping bag.
“We’re just waiting for a crisis to happen,” Brenda Lee of the Boulder Bear Coalition told the City Council last week. “That’s either going to be a person getting hurt or a bear being put down.”
Lee has long been an outspoken advocate for enforcing the city’s bear-safe ordinance, which requires bearresistant containers for trash and compost bins west of Broadway. Lax enforcement, she’s argued, encourages people not to securely latch their trash — and unsecured bins attract bears and signal to them that the city is a good place to find food.