NewsLocal News


No ‘Cocaine Bear,’ but Colorado has seen its share of substance-fueled wildlife

Posted at 5:22 PM, Mar 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-03 14:43:18-05

DENVER — As of the beginning of March, the top movie at the box office is "Cocaine Bear," a loosely-based-on-real events story of a black bear and its drug-fueled rampage. The movie is set in Georgia, while the real story happened in the Tennessee wilderness. And as it turns out, Colorado has had its own share of bears getting into substances.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife told Denver7 they have had multiple reports of bears running off with marijuana edibles in the last few years.

No 'Cocaine Bear,' but Colorado has its share of substance-fueled wildlife

For example, in October of 2020, the following partial report was taken in Cotopaxi, Colorado by a district wildlife manager.

The owner told me at one point a bear had gotten into a freezer left outside and got french fries and edibles (marijuana edibles). A bear also got into their trash. 

This part of another report came from Salida in July of 2022.

The bear did take one of the parties backpacks before running off which he stated contained shampoo and marijuana along with all of his personal belongings. 

Those reports came courtesy of CPW. Denver7 anchor Jason Gruenauer spoke to Joey Livingston of CPW about those reports, and Colorado’s "weed bears."

“It would have, you know, some sort of effect, but for the overall health of the animal, it's not something that would be overly concerning for us,” Livingston said about the impact of edibles on bears. “In some cases, they could get into large amounts of those substances, but the opportunities for that to happen are pretty slim.”

CPW’s info on the "weed bears" comes from witnesses reporting back to them. They did not track or follow the bears to see the effects firsthand. But they did report other bear activity, searching out inebriating substances.

“We’ve had bears that get into coolers that have beer, and will chew on some beer cans trying to drink the beer out of there,” Livingston said.

And not just a few beers. Some of the bears get after it.

“We’ve had, you know, bears that have taken entire coolers full of beer, chewed into those cans and busted them everywhere and trying to drink the beer,” he added.

No major harm has been reported to the bears, other than the concern with increased contact with humans.

CPW had this take-home message when it comes to those interactions:

“You want to make sure that you're not providing those food sources, or scent attractants for bears. Keeping that stuff secured as much as possible so that the bears aren't coming around people looking for food, and potentially getting into other substances as well,” Livingston said.

CPW has estimated in the past that approximately 17,000 to 20,000 bears live in Colorado.

D7 follow up bar 2460x400FINAL.png
The Follow Up
What do you want Denver7 to follow up on? Is there a story, topic or issue you want us to revisit? Let us know with the contact form below.