Wildlife officials hope to learn Steamboat bear habits | SteamboatToday.com

Wildlife officials hope to learn Steamboat bear habits

— Steamboat Springs wildlife officials on Sunday gave a male black bear a new hairdo and a collar.

The bear was caught in a trap set up at a gas station on 13th Street. The bear had been frequenting a nearby dumpster, which is not bear-proof.

"There is nothing on that dumpster to keep a bear out," Colorado Parks and Wildlife area wildlife manager Jim Haskins said.

Once caught, the bear was painted with a paint commonly used to mark livestock. There is now blue and red paint going down the bear's spine. This will help wildlife officials identify the bear in the future. Haskins said other bears might be painted for identification purposes.

The bear was also outfitted with a GPS collar. Haskins said this will allow wildlife officers to get a location on the bear at noon and midnight. After being released, the bear was tracked going to Emerald Mountain before returning to town.

The collar also transmits a radio signal, which will allow wildlife officers to track the bear using more traditional technology.

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Haskins said they hope to learn from the movements of Steamboat's bear population. He thinks certain bears develop routines and frequent the same trash food sources.

"We're hoping to see what kind of pattern it develops," Haskins said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland