Wildlife officers remove aggressive bear from north Boulder
BOULDER - Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers responded Tuesday to Oak Avenue in north Boulder following calls of a bear exhibiting aggressive behavior. As a result of its history of dangerous behavior, the bear was tranquilized, removed from the area and later euthanized at a CPW facility.
It is the first bear in Boulder County that has been put down this year, and is a bear that back in 2015 had previously been relocated out of east Boulder on Valmont Road. On Tuesday, the boar (male) bear, which had ear tag No. 352, had bluff charged City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Park rangers and CPW wildlife officers after they responded to the area following calls of the bear getting into trash cans.
The bear was in a bad location in the middle of town and wildlife officers did not feel like it was safe to leave that bear due to its location and aggressive behavior. Because of its history, being a bear that had already been relocated, and behavior that day, it was euthanized.
“The City of Boulder is not a good place for bears to live and forage,” said Area Wildlife Manager Kristin Cannon. “CPW tries many different things to prevent bears from living in the city and a vast majority of the time these do not result in the death of a bear. Unfortunately, in this instance it did.
“We can’t predict what wildlife will do and if we think there is a greater chance a person may be hurt by a bear in town, we err on the side of human safety. Not everyone is going to agree that this is necessary, but we feel we have a responsibility to make these difficult choices.”
On June 11, a man reported being bluff charged late at night by a larger ear tagged bear on Hapgood Street, which wildlife officers believe to be the same bear. CPW has documented reports of this bear bluff charging people also in 2016 in Ward and in 2017 it charged wildlife officers on Norwood Ave. There is also a history over the past three years of this bear getting into garbage repeatedly.
In these previous incidences, wildlife officers did not have an opportunity to safely remove the bear. On Tuesday, an opportunity presented itself with the bear in a tree where it can be safely mobilized.
A necropsy performed Tuesday showed it weighed 243 pounds and based on tooth-wear was estimated at 8-10 years old. Its stomach contents consisted of trash and wrappers from food products, and did not contain food from a natural bear diet.
Since April when bears first started becoming active following the winter, CPW has received 102 bear incident reports out of Boulder County. For 72 of those advice or a phone call was given to the reporting party, 24 required no action, there were 18 site visits made by wildlife officers, hazing tactics were used on four bears and three have been relocated (from Broomfield, Niwot and one from Boulder just north of the University of Colorado campus).
“Removing this bear will not solve any of the issues Boulder has with bears and it is still up to its residents to take responsibility for securing garbage, fruit, bee hives, chickens, compost, grills and bird feeders from bears,” Cannon said, adding that there are currently four to six bears utilizing Boulder on a somewhat frequent basis.
“As the fruit is not ripe yet, the most likely and available food source in the city is garbage and other human-related food,” Cannon said. “People can help save these bears by removing any food attractants for these bears in the city and by also hazing a bear away should they see one so that these bears do not feel comfortable living in your backyard.”
Anytime a bear is euthanized, it garners a lot of attention and outcry, and rightfully so. When an animal is lost, we all lose a little bit of the wild that makes Colorado so great. The darkest days for any wildlife officer is when they have to put an animal down. However, these instances are the exception to all the other work CPW does with bear conflicts.
On Monday, wildlife officers relocated a bear out of Loveland. That bear had spent much of the last week within city limits by Lake Loveland, and was moved from a private residence at Highway 287 and Carpenter Road up deep into the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forests.
See this video here showing the lengths wildlife officers go to care for these bears on this relocation effort: https://youtu.be/WF7DracNjv0
Also Monday night, in Golden, a bear was reported up a tree in the backyard of a homeowner by Tucker Gulch. A wildlife officer spoke to the reporting party, the bear had moved on, thus no action took place.
CPW emplores many different management actions, and no one scenario is the same. From education, to advice, to site visits, to relocations, to hazing tactics, CPW works diligently to manage wildlife, especially along the Front Range with its dense human population mixed in with wildlife.
Above: The stomach contents of the bear as seen from Tuesday's necropsy.
Lower Left: The bear getting into trash on Tuesday.
Lower Right: Photo of the bear in 2015 off Valmont Avenue before it was relocated out of town.
CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 41 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW's work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.