Washington and Oregon have large populations of black bear. It is a population that is growing and growing.
In Colorado warm temps are rousing black bears early
Nature’s alarm clock is ringing early for black bears, and some aren’t hitting the snooze button. Recent warm weather in Colorado — temperatures as high as 75 degrees — is stirring some bears from their dens a few weeks early, and officials are reminding residents in bear-prone areas to start being careful with their trash.
“‘Early’ is kind of subjective when you’re talking about nature,” says Randy Hampton, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
Most bears come out of hibernation from late April to early May, but individual bears can come out sooner, he says.
There have been spotty reports of roaming bears in the mountains. In Colorado Springs, residents have reported a mother and two cubs wandering in the northeast part of the city, Hampton says.
“Certainly, warmer temperatures probably are contributing to this,” he says. “Is it early for a couple of bear calls? No. Is it early for lots of bear activity? Yes.”
The warm temperatures trigger the bears’ instinct to awaken, and since many bears hibernate in snow-covered dens, the melting of the snow brings sunlight in. Hampton says there is not a concern about these bears starving from lack of vegetation or berries, because newly emerged bears will consume mostly water and grasses for now.
“You don’t just wake up and start scarfing down food. Bears slowly, over a period of several weeks, will begin to warm up their system,” he says.
Unless, that is, they find your trash or pet food.
So the DOW has been reminding residents to use bear-proof trash containers and take them to the curb in the morning, not the night before.
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