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CPW euthanizes 18-month-old black bear in Boulder after failed relocation attempt

Black bear euthanized in Boulder 7-12-23
Posted at 12:44 AM, Jul 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-13 02:44:07-04

BOULDER, Colo. — Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officers euthanized an 18-month-old black bear after it kept returning to eat trash and showed little fear of people, the agency said Wednesday.

CPW said it received reports of the bear in south Boulder in June. After it continued to get into trash and cause other issues, the bear was tagged and relocated to a remote habitat, the agency said. Officials hoped the move would encourage the bear to search for food in the wild.

A few weeks after the relocation, the bear was spotted rummaging through trash on 16th Street in Boulder.

Boulder Animal Protection officers hazed the bear with pepper spray on several occasions, according to CPW.

During one encounter, wildlife officers attempted to haze the bear with tasers. Despite two taser deployments, the bear was unresponsive and "aggressively charged" at the officers, CPW said.

According to the agency, a CPW officer shot a a rubber bullet at the charging bear, which ran away from the area.

Each of the events happened in the middle of the day, which is an unusual time for bears to be actively foraging in the city, according to CPW.

The agency was notified Wednesday morning of a bear in a tree near 16th Street and Baseline Road. The officers identified the bear by its ear tag as the one from previous incidents.

CPW said the bear was euthanized for human safety "due to the escalation in behavior and habitual trash issues."

“Working with the city of Boulder, we did absolutely everything we could think of to avoid this outcome,” Tyler Asnicar, a wildlife officer with CPW, said in a statement. “At the end of the day, human safety is our priority so we felt we had to remove the bear.”

The bear was a female and believed to be around 18 months old. According to CPW, bears that age are independent but not old enough to have cubs.

This was not the only bear incident in Boulder this week. An adult black bear was relocated from the University of Colorado Boulder Tuesday afternoon.

The bear was moved because it did not show aggressive behavior and had not been previously relocated, CPW explained.

The agency said trash is the largest source of conflict with bears, which can smell food from five miles away. Once bears identify trash as a food source, they will return to the area, according to CPW.

CPW urges those in bear country to use bear-proof trash cans or keep garbage inside until the morning of trash pick-up. Locking doors and windows will also keep bears from learning how to open entryways in order to obtain food, according to CPW.

For more ways to "bearproof" your home, click here.

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