As in­ci­dents rise, ad­vo­cates warn of com­ing “cri­sis”

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Alex Bur­ness

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.

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