Your actions can save the life on an Estes Valley Bear. Each fall, bears enter their pre-hibernation, pile on the fat, eating-fest (Hyperphagia) in which they seek to consume up to 20,000 calories each day so they have enough body fat and vital energy to sleep through the winter and emerge healthy in the spring. Their quest for calories is limitless so it’s up to us to help them focus their efforts on finding good, naturally available Bear food, instead of allowing them to eat leftover human food and waste products.
Here’s what you need to know:
Black bears have big appetites. They are mostly vegetarian but they aren’t picky. During Hyperphagia, just about anything slightly edible will do. Our trash is their food.
Black bears are nosey! They are curious and follow their noses to food. A Black Bear can smell food five miles away!
Black bears are busybodies! They can be active anytime, anywhere, day or night.
Black bears are really smart! They learn quickly to identify food, packaging, and containers. Once bears find an easy meal, you can be assured they’ll be back for more.
Black bears are naturally shy. They usually avoid people but once conditioned to human food, they can and may become aggressive.
Human actions can and often do alter “good bear” behavior. Bears conditioned to human food and trash are drawn closer to homes and business than is good for them or us.
Do Your Part to Keep Bears Wild: Store any and all trash in a secure place or use a bear-resistant container. NEVER leave food, food wrappers, packed coolers, pet food or pet food packaging, dirty diapers, or anything leftover from any kind of food or human waste in your car or in an unsecured area or container. Burn off grills, remove soiled foil, and be sure to safely dispose of waste.
Stop a bear from getting a food/trash reward: Set off your car alarm, let loose with an air horn, make big noise with a wooden spoon and a metal cooking pot, or just get really big and really loud. A bear will run from the noise and hopefully remember the negative consequence of “bad bear” behavior.
REMEMBER: Because of us humans, Bears that have developed “nuisance” behaviors or that are repeat offenders cannot be relocated and are killed. We are the keepers and it is up to us to honor, respect, protect and preserve our wonderful park and all of its inhabitants. Be aware: Save a Bear! Mother Nature and all of the local residents thank you.