Video: Mother bear put down after frequent encounters with people
July 31, 2007
Steamboat Springs — 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.
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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.
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