According to Steamboat Today, Parks and Wildlife officers have euthanized 51 bears in Northwest Colorado counties in 2017, in addition to relocating another 36. Bears are typically euthanized when they pose a threat to human safety or property more than once. While relocation is often considered first, officials are starting to move away from this option, as bears that cause trouble more than once are likely to cause trouble again.

The number of bear-to-human interactions doesn’t come as a surprise as mountain towns around the state continue to grow and expand. In one Denver Post article, they conclude that more than 1,000 bears are killed in Colorado each year, mostly as a result of legal hunting, threatened landowners, and automobile accidents. This number also includes bears that are put down by Parks and Wildlife officials.

Many attribute the high number of bear euthanizations to urbanization. As cities expand into bears’ natural habitat, bears become accustom to living closer to human life. As a result, they start to view trash cans, homes, and campsites as viable places to find food over traditional natural sources. In fact, 32 percent of Front Range bears are suspected to consume human food.

While it’s hard to do much at an individual level to prevent additional bear deaths, practices like using bear-proof garbage cans and camping equipment can help prevent wild animals from forming the habit of obtaining human food.

For more news from around the state of Colorado, check out our HERE & NOW section.

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