VAIL, Colorado - Residents are being asked to be diligent about keeping their garbage stored properly now that bear season is under way. The department has already fielded 53 bear reports so far in the month of August, up from 9 in 2011. The main locations for bear activity are the Alpine Drive area in the Matterhorn neighborhood, the Arosa Drive area in West Vail and the Forest Road area in Vail Village.
Over the next few weeks, the Vail police department will be increasing enforcement of existing year-round ordinances to deter bears from accessing easy-to-find food sources. Since 2007 all curbside trash customers in Vail have been required to use wildlife-resistant containers. In addition, commercial establishments, multi-family complexes and construction sites are required to use enclosures and/or wildlife-proof containers. Also, the placement of curbside containers is restricted to the assigned pick up day and only during daylight hours under provisions of the dawn to dusk ordinance.
The town of Vail last saw an alarming increase in bear activity in 2009 when the Vail Dispatch Center received 222 calls involving bear activity, compared to only 51 in 2008. Since 2009, the bear activity has decreased significantly. In 2010, police responded to 58 bear related calls during the summer months and only 20 in 2011. So far in 2012, police have responded to 83 bear related calls.
The suspected reason for the increase in bear related activity is the recent drought conditions affecting most of the state this past spring and summer. The lack of moisture has significantly reduced the bear's natural food sources thereby forcing the animals to find a different source for their nutrition.--