In an unlikely turn of events, an elderly Colorado couple is being fined after luring native bears to – and then feeding them – on their property.
A Douglas County couple is under pressure from Colorado government. Charged with misdemeanor charges, and elderly couple has been caught luring and feeding bears to their Castle Rock property.
According to local law enforcement, the couple’s feeding was an ongoing, “egregious incident.” It became so problematic that the CPW, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, had to intervene after multiple reports of the couple directly feeding native bears.
“It is selfish and unethical to feed bears,” wildlife official Matt Martinez tells local news. “You are going to end up unintentionally killing those animals and also putting yourself in harm’s way. If what you want is a pet or just to connect with an animal, choose a domestic breed that has evolved to live with people.”
In addition, CPW spokesman Jason Clay tells the Denver Post that each party in the elderly couple was charged $200. Their $400 total misdemeanor charge is for a first time offense. Subsequent violations will result in fines exceeding $2,000 with surcharges from the state.
Bears – and the Humans Feeding Them – Caught in the Act
Aside from being strictly illegal, attracting bears to populated areas with food creates highly dangerous situations. Bears are curious and smart – and will associate humans with food quickly once fed. This drastically increases the chances of attacks & fatal encounters for both humans and bears.
“Attracting bears to your property by providing food for them causes animals to congregate in one area,” CPW adds. “This can lead to an increase in human-wildlife conflict.”
Once a bear becomes habituated, they will approach houses, cars, and even people for food. Trash cans, garages, and anything they can get to becomes a hazard. While this is obviously a danger to humans, it is the animals that typically pay the price. Once they become too assertive in urban areas, they are euthanized.
In short, CPW sums it up perfectly: “This is unfair for the bears because when humans and wildlife have conflict, wildlife loses.”
“Feeding Bears Only Attracts More Bears”
“I find that there are some misconceptions that feeding bears will lead to fewer conflicts with animals,” district wildlife manager Sean Dodd clarifies in a subsequent statement. “Nothing could be further from the truth. Feeding bears only attracts more bears, which leads to more conflict in a given area. In the end, feeding bears is selfish and ultimately ends up leading to the bear’s death.”
As a result, and as potentially dangerous black bear sightings continue to rise, knowing how to successfully prevent an encounter – and deter an attack – can save your life.
In addition to people feeding bears, the “new normal” of social distancing during a pandemic has many people returning to the outdoors – or visiting them for the first time. At the same time, protected species are seeing their numbers increasing in populated areas. When you combine these two happenings, the likelihood of bear encounters increases dramatically.
Such is the case for hikers and campers, with black bear encounters rising drastically in 2020. Some have proven fatal. Most, thankfully, have only served as intense reminders that these wild animals are exactly that – wild. And unpredictable.
Black and brown bears can – and do – kill people. Fatalities from native American species are rare, but any encounter holds the potential to be dangerous. As a result, knowing how to successfully navigate such an encounter – and prevent one entirely – can save your life.
To familiarize yourself with the best way to survive a bear encounter and/or attack, continue on to our Surviving a Black Bear: How to Prevent Encounters and Deter an Attack.
[H/T Fox News]