Why we say ‘garbage kills bears’

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers, working with federal wildlife experts, caught and humanely euthanized a sow bear early Saturday near Manitou Springs. The sow matched the description of a bear that attacked a woman the night of Thursday, July 9, near downtown Manitou Springs. It was caught not far from the scene of the attack. Its remains were sent to a health lab for a necropsy and testing.

The victim told CPW wildlife officers she was walking home from work around 11:40 p.m. Thursday when she encountered an adult bear on the street. The bear charged her. As the victim turned to try to escape, the bear knocked her down from behind, scratching her back and ripping her shirt.

Minutes later, a colleague of the victim walked down the same street and was chased by a bear. She avoided contact with the bear by running around a parked vehicle.

A nearby witness reported seeing two cubs with the large adult bear. All three bears ultimately wandered off and the victim walked to her nearby home.

“Early Saturday morning, July 11, the APHIS team, using trained hounds, treed a sow matching the description of the target bear and in the same area as the attack. It was humanely euthanized. Then the two cubs were captured. We are very confident we caught the target sow so we removed traps set up in the neighborhood and pulled our officers out.”

CPW launched an intensive search for the sow after receiving a report Friday morning of the attack from Manitou Springs Police and interviewing the victim.

The team of CPW officers and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) agents also captured the sow’s cubs and sent them to to the nonprofit Wet Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation facility in Wetmore where they will be raised and taught to avoid human contact. They will be released into the wild next winter.

In the wake of the attack, neighbors told CPW the sow and cubs often rummaged trash cans in the area and acted aggressively toward people.

“This is why we say ‘garbage kills bears’ and urge everyone to secure their trash cans,” Wigner said.

“This is bear country. We need to keep them wild and not let them become trash bears.”


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