Black bears are roaming in preparation for hibernation and Colorado officials aren’t really sure how to handle it.
The Post Independent reports higher numbers of bear-human conflicts has led to more relocation of the animal, but more relocations have led to less available locations for more relocations. According to the newspaper, Parks and Wildlife has relocated six bears and put down 17 this year in Management Area 17, which includes Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and most of Pitkin and Eagle counties.
Parks and Wildlife District Manager Dan Cacho told The Post Independent relocation gets complicated when that many incidents occur in one spot because officials want to move the bears “at least 100 miles away” but still need to keep them in Colorado.
“Relocation gets pretty complicated for us. It’s statewide,” Cacho told the paper. “We’re starting to have issues in places we haven’t had before. I think that’s fairly telling.”
The Post Independent reports this year’s complication isn’t new.
The same area a year ago had three bears relocated and 11 killed and 2014 included 21 relocations and 19 bears killed. The newspaper writes Parks and Wildlife officials generally have a two-strikes policy with bears, tagging ears of captured bears and relocating them after a troublesome encounter. The bears are put down only after a second such encounter or an immediate threat to people.
“Really all you’re doing then is passing the buck,” Cacho told the paper. “We don’t know what our success rate is, but we see a lot of red ear tags end up having to be put down, because they’re causing issues in another area.”
The newspaper reports Colorado is working through ways to help the current situation, including issuing more hunting licenses.
“It just boils down to being responsible with wildlife,” Parks and Wildlife public information officer Mike Porras told the newspaper. “Human health and safety is our primary concern.”