A brown bear in the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. PHOTO COURTESY U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.
Colorado bears may be changing hibernation patterns due to irresponsible human behavior
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — In our Bear Blog searches, we recently came across the Great Bear Foundation, a great clearinghouse for all sorts of bear conservation and recovery projects around country and world.
We also came across the very first episode of the Yogi Bear cartoon series on YouTube, which we’ve embedded in this post for your viewing pleasure. When I watched this show as a youngster, it seemed pretty funny. It wasn’t until much later, when I started visiting Yosemite, that I began to see the tragedy in the interaction between bears and humans, particularly in the way irresponsible human behavior affects the animals, which are basically just doing what comes naturally, which is to say looking for food.
That point was underscored last week when I interviewed Shannon Schwab, the Colorado Division of Wildlife manager for Summit County. Schwab has been responding to bear reports in the county for several years, sometimes as many as 20 to 40 per week, at all hours of the day and night.
The problem, of course, is that when bears start getting used to those sources of food, they start hanging out around people. Sooner or later, they make an aggressive move toward some humans, and they only get one chance. When they get in trouble a second time, state policy calls for the bears to be killed, and it’s not the best part of the job for the biologists. They didn’t get into the business to kill bears.
Based on what she’s seen, she suspects that local bears have changed their hibernation patterns significantly because of the easy availability of human sources of food, and it’s a source of frustration for her and other wildlife managers, because the solution is so simple — remove the attractive nuisances and the bears will stay away. Read the full story here.
Please click on the “read more” link to get all the information you need to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem, as provided by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. (more…)
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