Colorado has a healthy population of bears. There are 16,000 to 18,000 bears roaming around looking for food from April to Thanksgiving and there are hundreds of bear encounters each year. This year experts predict the chances of bear encounters will increase because food supplies are low. Colorado Parks & Wildlife said your chances of a bear encounter increase when you leave attractants around your home or camp site. Those items include trash, food wrappers, and bird and dog food, even lip balm. Sweet smells will also attract a bear. A bear’s nose is 100 times more sensitive than a human nose. Colorado Parks & Wildlife say bear encounters are becoming increasingly common in our state. Jennifer Churchill, a Wildlife Manager with Colorado Parks & Wildlife, says there are a lot of neighborhoods now sitting in the middle of bear country. “As Colorado grows we find people living in bear habitat, “Unfortunately a lot of folks don’t want to call us and tell us they’re having activity because they’re concerned we will come out and remove the bear. That’s not our preferred way of managing the animals.” said Churchill. Since 1960, 54 people have been injured and three more have died from bear encounters in Colorado. Bears make their way into the suburbs through corridors of creeks, rivers and drainage systems from the High Country. Other bears are living in their natural habitat among homes in certain towns, like Aspen. Wildlife officials recommend not screaming during a bear encounter. Instead, they recommend that you make yourself look big, back up slowly and give the animal a place to exit. Generally the bears want to get away from people. There are ways to deter bears from coming near your home or campsite. Install motion detector lights, be noisy or play a radio and use scent deterrents like bleach or ammonia fumes in or near your trash. If camping, Wildlife officials recommend that if you do anything with food do it two hundred feet...
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