4/20/2006

Coexisting With Wildlife

According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, between 8,000-12,000 bears around the state will be awakening from their winter hibernation within the next few weeks. Adult male bears will come out first. Initially, they will drink lots of water and then look for food - and will eat anything they can find! In Colorado, we only have the American Black Bear which usually avoids humans, but their need for food may bring them in contact with us in open spaces and parks in the foothills and elsewhere.

Bears are not the only wildlife species we may encounter and, in the spring, they may have their young ones close by or be young males hunting on their own for the first time. Recently, a young boy was attacked by a young mountain lion on a trail near Boulder. Depending on the location, other species to look for are coyotes, moose, beaver, Canada geese, and deer. Early spring is stressful for wildlife and human contact adds to the stress.

People and wildlife can coexist. The key is to respect the wildness of the wildlife. The rules are simple: leave the animals alone and, especially, do not intentionally, or inadvertently feed them. More links to Internet sites and print publications on the topic are available in the resource list "Wildlife in Colorado: Resources from Colorado State Government Agencies".

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