Video: Mother bear put down after frequent encounters with people

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Bear captured

Colorado Division of Wildlife officials say a bear that was captured near Steamboat Boulevard on Monday will have to be destroyed.

Colorado Division of Wildlife officials say a bear that was captured near Steamboat Boulevard on Monday will have to be destroyed.

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A small bear cub watches Colorado Division of Wildlife personnel on the ground below from his perch high in a tree off of Robert E. Lee Lane in Steamboat Springs on Monday afternoon. The cub eventually was recovered by DOW personnel and Steamboat Springs firefighters.

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A black bear captured by Colorado Division of Wildlife personnel in a trap on Robert E. Lee Lane eyes a noose pole encroaching on its cage in Steamboat Springs on Monday afternoon.

— John Beaupre knows the way to a black bear's heart.

"They love peaches," he said. "They can't resist peaches."

Using his secret, Beaupre and his wife, Sharon, set out a trail of overripe peaches Sunday night to entice a female black bear into a Colorado Division of Wildlife trap after the bear had become a nuisance to the Beaupres and several of their Robert E. Lee Lane neighbors.

After checking the trap Monday, several Division of Wildlife officers began what would turn into a monstrous effort to subdue the mother bear and sedate a cub that was stuck about 70 feet up a tree bordering the Sheraton Steamboat Golf Club.

"It's a bear rodeo," Beaupre said wandering around his lawn offering sodas to the wildlife officers and Steamboat Springs firefighters who had responded to the call.

Jim Haskins, a district wildlife manager, said officers haven't had to use a trap for a bear for at least two years.

Haskins said the female bear was going to be put down because she had broken into at least four homes in the Steamboat Boulevard neighborhood, including the Beaupres' basement kitchen last week.

"That's my call and that's what I'm making," he said after the cub had safely been removed from the tree. "She has been in too many homes. She's getting too comfortable around people."

The cub, which was born in January or February, will be sent to a private rehabilitation center in Silt, Haskins said.

Haskins said the problem is people leaving out food sources for bears.

"This is a people problem," he said. "If you take the food source away: the bear won't come around. People need to remember that a bear is consumed with eating when it's not sleeping."

Trash cans and open windows emitting food smells attract bears to people, he said.

Haskins said bear complaints are on the rise in Steamboat Springs.

"We're on the cusp of where Vail and Aspen are right now. Bear calls and dealing with bears consumes all of their time," he said. "We're going to have to start being more aggressive with how we handle these things. It's an unfortunate deal."

Beaupre said he doesn't mind the wildlife, including the occasional bear, and he hopes incidents like Monday's don't become common.

"You just have to be extraordinarily careful because bears around here are very human conditioned," he said.

-To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

Jennifer Lowe 7 years ago

A people problem, it is. A mother bear is put down because people are not responsible with their garbage - what a shame. How difficult is it? We live in a town surrounded by national forest - we choose to live surrounded by wildlife and as such we need to be responsible and mindful of our actions and how they affect wildlife.

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housepoor 7 years ago

The DOW needs to get tougher on homeowners who at first think it's cute to have a bear in their trash, only to have that same Bear destroyed later. I wonder how the Beaupre has come across his "secret" for attracting Bears??????? It's a "Bear Rodeo"?????? He seemed to enjoy the whole thing..............

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corduroy 7 years ago

Personally I think its sick they would put down a baby cub's mama, even if the cub is several months old. The mama bear is only trying to provide for her family. Unfortunately people leave food out and the smell is intoxicating. Why couldn't they take the bears up to North Routt and release them in the wild? Or take them both to a wildlife sanctuary.

Seriously, if I were that bear cub, you just killed my mom because she was trying to support me. I'm really saddened by this. Since when do humans always have to come first. The bears lived here years before we did.

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Randy Hampton 7 years ago

An unfortunate situation and probably the worst part of the job for wildlife officers. Unfortunately state law is not designed to regulate trash problems (typically a $68 fine in most cases). Strong and enforced local laws are needed to regulate the human part of this equation. Hopefully the people in and around Steamboat will work to prevent these kinds of situations in the future.

Unfortunately, moving a bear that is breaking into houses results in two possibilities... the bear breaks into houses in its new environment or returns to its old environment. In this situation, quick intervention to prevent the cub from following these habits will result in the loss of one bear not the loss of two (or even generations of bears). Hard choice, but the right one in this case.

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fish 7 years ago

Ya know Beaupre seemed to know just what would lure them in. Sounds like he has probably been doing it for quite a while.

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animalfarm 7 years ago

John Beaupre knows the way to a black bear's heart.

"They love peaches," he said. "They can't resist peaches."

He should be fined. He is, I'm sure, the reason this mother bear had to be put down. "Isn't it cute to feed the bears", until they start becoming a nuisance, then all of a sudden it isn't so cute anymore.

It's people like him that make me despise the human race.

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housepoor 7 years ago

I can't imagine the DOW instructed them to bait the bear?? This guy should be fined and if there are any more bear incidents at his residence due his negligence (or enticement) he should prosecuted for wildlife harassment. I'm still amazed and disgusted at the enthusiasm this guy had for having that bear put down!!!!!

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sportzmama 7 years ago

I live in this area and let me tell you - we take every precaution and I believe it's this bear that's been in our garbage as well. It's heartbreaking, but we have no garage for our garbage which would be best. This bear actually confronted our room mate on his bike on Fri. evening and that's plain scary! I feel so bad this has to happen, but she was just becoming to "unafraid" of people. I'm from Alaska, so I know the bear problem very well. No one wants to see a bear destroyed, but after this past weekend with our bear encounters, it's maybe the only way. I do know that re-located bears will find their way back in many instances. Bummer, but the reality of living in the mtns. We all must continue trying to mitigate the situation in order to minimize the damage we're doing to these awesome creatures.

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Andrew Bisbee 7 years ago

I also live in the area, and this mother was in my yard often, during the day even. She had 2 cubs two years ago that fed off my berry bushes and crab apples nightly for 2 years. And I saw her and her new cub just the other night. I always shut all the windows that she or other bears could get to. I do worry about bears coming in the house, I have 2 small children, but I think it is unfair for us to take the life of a beautiful creature that has shown no agression. She seemed passive towards humans. I think we need to be more careful with our open windows.

Also I don't understand why we couldn't try the relocation or hazing first.

I'm sure the DOW thinks they made the right choice, but it seems way too harsh.

It is sad. -andrew bisbee

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JazzSlave 7 years ago

My garbage is as bear proof as possible, but the bear(s) still show up to give it the old college try. My dog is able to run them off more often than not, but the critters will occassionally behave pretty aggressively (especially in the winter). So far we've been able to co-exist. If I had small children, I don't know that I could be as tolerant.

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JazzSlave 7 years ago

Scott:

Is anyone working on the funky timestamp/out-of-order message posting problem?

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provo 7 years ago

How sad and VERY dissapointing

Strong and enforced local laws are needed to regulate the human part of this equation.

I think we all realize that the consistency of this is long over due....

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JazzSlave 7 years ago

animalfarm:

If DOW had already determined that the bear was to be put down, & Beaupre helped them to expedite their decision, why should he be fined?

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fish 7 years ago

Sadly, this will become much more common as more and more homes are built in the area. We as "the higher species" need to take on the responsibility of making sure animals and man can coexist in the same area and the only way to do that is to make sure that people understand and follow the rules for dealing with these animals. No bird feeder, no leaving the bbq grill outside when not in use, bear proofing your trash and home etc. would make this type of bear problem disappear but sadly people think it is cool to have a bear around until it does some damage once it costs them some money they couldn't care less about the bear they just want the problem gone and then to know who is going to pay for their damages.

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steamy1 7 years ago

I live in this area, and this bear has come through my yard with her cubs many times. Not once has there been any damage or aggressive behavior shown by them.

However, I know they are in the area and take precautions to reduce the risk of any confrontations. For example, we keep our windows closed on the levels that are accessible; we do not fill the bird feeder; and most importantly, we keep our garbage in the garage until trash day, then get up a little earlier and take the trash out just before pick-up time.

For me, the lessons learned in this are:

  1. The City of Steamboat should strictly enforce the garbage ordinance and fine anyone who places their trash outside the night before and do not have bear resistant containers. In addition, the fine should be increased from $100 to $1,000, like Vail.
  2. The decision and authority to destroy an animal that has not shown aggressive behavior or is not injured should not be with one person; it should go through a review process that has established criteria. For example, were all alternatives and attempts to re-locate the bear thoroughly explored?
  3. And finally, those that live in areas that have a high probability of overlap with wild animals should be fully aware of steps they need to take to mitigate any potential confrontations. There should be consequences for failure to do so.

I am truly distressed and saddened by the events of yesterday with this mother bear and her cub. Her protection should be considered by all of us who chose to live in proximity with wildlife, and make a little effort to accommodate their needs. This should be a sad day for all of us.

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trollunderthebridge 7 years ago

We can add this to the responsibilities of the new compliance officer that the city is going to hire...construction debris downtown, vacation home rentals and real estate signs. Sounds like that is going to be a busy position. 24/7

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seabirth 7 years ago

just think how pissed dundalk would be if it was a kermode bear being put down

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dave reynolds 7 years ago

How bout this..they were here FIRST.we invaded their turf so now ..we put down a bear who is providing for her cubs...teaching her cubs to survive..shes dead cause of our mistakes(ie heres a gaod food source)...DOW is not the Trash Police..why on earth is the city so leanient on violaters.....sorta like The Great Gold Rush.Native Americans Beware here we come(you got what we want ),,its your fault not ours..no such thing as bear proof if they want it they will get it..for cryin out loud they can rip doors off cars..why is everybody so surpised this will continue to happen as THE BOAT grows

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localreader 7 years ago

Dundalk must not be on Daylight Savings Time.

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localreader 7 years ago

time sequences don't seem to be correct on the comment.

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Andrew Bisbee 7 years ago

So I checked my yard this afternoon form last night and guess what... Stool from a mom and cub that came by last night in the middle of the night.

So here is a question, since I live a stone through from the house they broke into, how in the heck does the DOW know they killed the correct animal.

Also, I agree with Steamy1- start enforcing the law and shutting your windows. This is their land too. As Humans we need to help the wildlife to survive.

Thanks to all those that make the effort to help them out.

-andrew

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fish 7 years ago

They can't prove which bear it was and this is a sad fact, they don't care. If they have to kill 10 animals to get the correct animal it still means 9 animals that they won't have to deal with. Do you really believe that the DOW really gives a damn about wildlife?

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deloy fox 7 years ago

I agree with Steamy 1. It is only a bear rodeo because of j* os like Bob who have peaches and know what the bears like. Bear complaints are on the rise because jk os like Bob and the the out of town people, i.e. (triple crown) all want to see some sort of wild animals to go back home and tell a story. Go to the Zoo and stay away from here. You can save the cub but not Mom? What is wrong with you? She is too comfortable around people, well if the people between the Hospital and Fish Creek Falls Rd. were accountable for "their" trash not being in a "bear proof container" and some enforcement on that was happening maybe 2, one year old cubs wouldn't be without a Mom. Think about it!! We didn't have this problem when the Vintage Car or Vintage Motor Cycle People were here. Maybe Dick Beaupre shouldn't be allowed to purchase peaches. Good Luck finding a "bear proof container" on Stmbt. Blvd.

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steamy1 7 years ago

I do not like to admit it, but I think Fish is right; the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) is not an advocate for our animals. Preview the opening page of their website http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeCommission/ And look at the headlines: Wildlife Commission Approves Big Game License Numbers for 2007 they are in the business of killing, or as they like to say, "Harvesting". How could you expect a compassioned or enlightened perspective on why alternative means should be attempted before ordering the execution of the bear?

Take a look at who makes up the commission. Not one that I would call an advocate of animal rights. If you want to make a difference, then you have to be heard. Write Gov. Ritter. The Governor appoints the commission.

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animalfarm 7 years ago

JazzSlave Why do you think the DOW had determined the bear had to be put down? Because it was too comfortable around people and their homes. That is because of people, most likely Mr. Beaupre, feeding her. He seemed to know exactly what they like. Read the article, does it not seem to you that feeding bears peaches is something he has done in the past? Most likely this bear and her cub. It's entertainment to the "clueless". Some people do things without thinking about what the long term results of their actions may be. Fine him, maybe he'll think twice the next time he decides to feed "THE CUTE LITTLE BEAR AND HER BABY".

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JazzSlave 7 years ago

animalfarm:

In other words, he's guilty until proven innocent.

I hope you're not a jurist.

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dundalk 7 years ago

poo poo! One stands up for the rights of the bear and gets censored right off the porch where the peachfeeder waits to bait Winnie the Pooh with a Peach Pie. Me thinks that Christopher Robin and A.A. Milne have been ambushed by the anti First Amendment and a pro-peach terminator hiding in a corner. Poor, poor Pooh!

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spukomy 7 years ago

What jerks the Colorado Division of Wildlife are. Why would you killl a mama bear who has not hurt anyone and is just trying to feed her babies. Now they are orphans and mom is dead because a few people can't handle "wildlife" when they live in the wilderness or "Steamboat". If you don't like it move back to the city but don't kill the innocent.

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spukomy 7 years ago

Why do people call the police when they see bears in Steamboat? It's as if they want them to be killed. When I see bears I let them go on their merry way. If we stay out of their way and don't entice them with food then they will stay out of our way. DON"T KILL BEARS FOR NO REASON!!! Don't call the police! Instead, close your doors and windows and take care of your trash!! To the Heartless people that have left orphan baby bears!

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Randy Hampton 7 years ago

The Colorado Division of Wildlife is doing its job. If people would take care of their trash, we wouldn't have to kill bears.

Is this the right bear? Based on the description of the cub and the bear, we believe so.

And to those who question the DOW's hunting loyalty, you ought to figure out who pays for wildlife management in Colorado... sportsmen. The DOW receives ZERO state general fund tax dollars. Sportsmens' license fees pay for management, including things like lynx re-introduction, black-footed ferret re-introduction and spending endless hours educating the ignorant about black bears. Sportsmen pay the bills for all wildlife management, so we can't just ignore that fact.

Hunting controls populations and limits diseases. Overpopulations would lead to rampant disease issues, increased insurance rates due to increased collisions, increased agricultural crop damage, increased damage to landscaping, increased damage to valuable rangeland, increased predator populations and the resulting risk to humans, etc.

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Hadleyburg_Press 7 years ago

This is a people issue not a bear issue. Steamboat is woefully behind almost every other mountain community in the nation when it comes to how we secure our trash. Drive around the community and try to find bear proof trash containers, either public or private. They dont exist (except in a few rare cases). Steamboat needs to embrace a wholesale approach to how trash is secured from bear intrusion. There are many fine examples of this in other communities where bear populations are far greater than in Routt county. Look at some of the communities surrounding Yellowstone for example. Let's get the City to get serious about this issue. Is everyone willing to take on $100 expense to save the life of a bear moving forward? I for one am.

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fish 7 years ago

Well then, I quess that because you feel that they did their job right and you back them or yourself, 100%. Guess what some of us disagree with you. It is my opinion that our local DOW does little to nothing to prevent this kind of thing from happening over and over again. Also what about another female bear and cub in the same area. Duh! We know we got the right bear. I love the line based on the description of the cub and the bear we believe so. How did the description go I am dying to know. Also since you seem to be so close to the workings of this office, why was relocation not an option? I guess that the reason behind that would be that it costs more than a bullet.

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Randy Hampton 7 years ago

The theory that the DOW lets this happen "over and over again" would indicate that we have the authority to take action. We regulate wildlife and outside of hunting and fishing laws, we have little statutory authority to impact this problem. The state bear feeding ordinance requires that we give a written warning then if the person violates the law again, we can issue a $68 to $100 ticket.

We aren't the trash police and we aren't looking to become the trash police. We don't have the resources to make sure trash is taken care of when we have one officer per 810 square miles.

If you truly want to make a difference and prevent "us" from having to do the bad part our jobs, then you should consider forming a volunteer Bear Aware team with the DOW office in Steamboat. Work to educate people about how they can keep this from happening. Also you can encourage development of strong trash ordinances locally and strong enforcement of those ordinances.

And I'm fully aware that some people may not agree with the DOW. As spokesman for the DOW, I spend a great deal of time debating these issues. Ultimately, this kind of dialogue furthers the education process. And it's okay if you don't like or agree with us, we'll keep doing our jobs on behalf of Colorado's wildlife.

If anyone would like to discuss, please feel free to contact me at 970-255-6162 or post here. Randy Hampton, Public Information Officer, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Northwest Region, Grand Junction.

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Hadleyburg_Press 7 years ago

Thanks Randy. The DOW is not to blame. This issue can only be addressed by creating local ordinances with teeth that are enforced locally. This is a City issue. A City mandated bear proof trash program is one of the answers. Education is critical as well which make have to occur in the form of stiff fines once the program is initiated. I recommend that we have the City Council put this as an agenda item for the next meeting. With growth come challenges for all of us. Let's stop pointing fingers for once and try to find a solution moving forward. It is always easier to blame someone else than it is to do the work to affect change.

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housepoor 7 years ago

I appreciate you taking the time post, Randy. Given the situation I'm sure Jim H did what he felt he had to do. What was most upsetting is the lackadaisical attitude of the homeowner and the fact that he was involved and boasted about the baiting of this bear. I'm sure this homeowners continued lack of bear prevention contributed to this bears unfortunate demise.

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dundalk 7 years ago

seabirth:

Wouldn't life's revolving cycles be enhanced if the Kermode Bear's "spirit" came back to seek retribution against the peachfeeder fool who took a cub and her mother and fed them to the DOW?

In addition to having an infinity towards Kermode Bear, I also like the little black bear and the Kodiak Browns...guess that makes me an equal opportunity bear lover, regardless of its coat's shade and hue. Nice try though.

Have a peachy day.

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JazzSlave 7 years ago

fish says:

"I guess..."

Emblematic of most of the ignorance rampant on this forum - people who make blind assumptions rather than looking into relevant processes & procedures. Indolence is easier than involvement.

To the complainers & accusers: It's too bad you are unable to channel any of that angst into anything more constructive than unfounded finger pointing at an agency you know little or nothing about, and a homeowner about whom you know even less.

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animalfarm 7 years ago

Oh, JazzSlave, I don't know the homeowner real well (as in, he is not a friend of mine). But he was a customer in my store a few years back and had an interaction with my 5mos old puppy. So, as far as the homeowner and his "animal knowledge".....He's a JACKA$$.

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fish 7 years ago

Jazz slave, if you could read, you would see that I used the term I guess in reference to another post of another persons opinion that they were happy with the job done by the DOW. I was not referencing any thing about the agency so you have misquoted me or taken my statement out of context either by accident or design I am not sure, but I sure hope it helped you to find your own opinion.

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JazzSlave 7 years ago

fish -

You wrote:

"It is my opinion that our local DOW does little to nothing to prevent this kind of thing from happening over and over again."

And:

"...why was relocation not an option? I guess that the reason behind that would be that it costs more than a bullet."

The first statement seems to indicate ignorance of DOW's mandate and authority. The second appears to be an incredibly sarcastic and negative evaluation of the motives of DOW personnel.

If that's out of context, I'm happy to be corrected. If it means what it says, you owe Mr. Hampton and his colleagues an apology.

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fish 7 years ago

No I don't owe them an apology, it is my opinion that they could have used other means to dispose of the bear that was the problem like relocation and as you have more than once pointed out we all are entitled to our opinion. Where you took it out of context was the I guess. Now if that is sarcastic I guess that I have lots of company with being that on this forum. So sorry if you take offence at someone having an opinion that is different from yours but it sounds like you are probably going to have to get used to that.

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JazzSlave 7 years ago

fish -

I cherry picked the "I guess" remark to indict a group of posters on this thread. If you could read, you might know that "people" is plural. "complainers & accusers" is plural. That you are sufficiently narcissistic to believe it's all about you is unsurprising.

There are any number of online dictionaries available. Feel free to log onto one if any of this eludes you.

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fish 6 years, 12 months ago

You cherry picked my @ss. Stop getting your panties in a wad, you are the one that wanted to make this a personal fight by listing my handle so don't try to play that game with me. I refuse to have a war of words with a person I don't know and don't give a damn if they like what I say or not.

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JazzSlave 6 years, 12 months ago

I listed your handle to source the remark.

I liked you better when you launched into the psychotically infantile and profanity-laden rants. You were entertaining, at least, if no less vacuous.

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