Bear Tragedies Highlight Human Impact on Wildlife

Urgent Calls for Responsible Waste Management and Wildlife Protection

In a series of unfortunate events, the human impact on wildlife has been brought to the forefront, highlighting the urgent need for responsible waste management and wildlife protection. In Colorado, a black bear faced a tragic end due to the ingestion of human trash, leading to severe health complications. Similarly, in View Royal, a mother bear was euthanized, and her cubs relocated, after multiple reports of the bear accessing unsecured attractants on residential properties.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) had to make the difficult decision to euthanize a sick male bear in Telluride after it showed signs of infection from consuming human trash. The bear, weighing an estimated 400 pounds, suffered from a severe intestinal blockage, preventing it from digesting food. Observations revealed the bear’s feverish behavior, puffy eyes, and discharge from its eyes and mouth. The bear’s stomach and intestines contained a mix of paper towels, disinfectant wipes, napkins, plastic sacks, and wax paper food wrappers, leading to its starvation. This incident has prompted CPW to issue an urgent reminder to the public to secure trash properly to avoid conflicts with bears.

Meanwhile, in View Royal, residents Andrea Miller and Melanie Austin presented to the council the pressing issue of wildlife interactions in their neighborhood, which is adjacent to Thetis Lake Regional Park. They recounted the distressing incident where conservation officers had to euthanize a mother bear and relocate her two cubs due to the bear’s repeated access to unsecured attractants on properties. The bear, having been relocated in the past for similar reasons, had lost its fear of humans, posing a public safety risk. The incident deeply affected the community, with some residents even creating a memorial for the bear.

Miller and Austin urged the council to introduce measures to prevent such tragedies. They proposed the development of a new wildlife attractants bylaw, setting regulations for secure waste storage, cleaning barbecues, collecting fallen fruit, and managing compost piles. They also advocated for the provision of bear-proof bins for residents and public spaces. The council unanimously supported their request, emphasizing the need to become a Bear Smart Community, a designation recognized by the province.

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