Bears break into Beaver Creek homes |

Bears break into Beaver Creek homes

Ruth Moon
Vail, CO Colorado
Sharon Baruch Mordo/Special to the Daily

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” Unwelcome guests probably don’t get past Beaver Creek’s high-security gates too often, but two homes hosted a few last week.

Three bears were trapped in Beaver Creek Wednesday and relocated because they had entered at least two homes and become a nuisance on trails in the area. The bears ” two cubs and a mother ” were seen in two different houses in Beaver Creek over the last week and a half, said Randy Hampton, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

They were also spotted on a hiking trail and a road, where they refused to move for a pickup truck trying to drive past.

They are the first bears to be relocated this summer from the Vail area, and Hampton said the Division of Wildlife has received three calls since mid-May reporting bear problems.

The bears got into the homes through open doors or windows, Hampton said.

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He warned that trash problems in Beaver Creek, like unlatched or overfilled dumpsters and trash stored outdoors, are attracting bears. A male bear has also been sighted in the area.

All three bears were captured in a trap Wednesday with the help of Beaver Creek security and taken to an area south of Silt, a town a little over an hour away from Beaver Creek, Hampton said.

The bears should be able to find food there, and will be far enough away that they shouldn’t come back to the area.

If they do reappear around Beaver Creek, the bears will be euthanized, as mandated by Colorado state law, Hampton said.

Beaver Creek security officers did not return calls for comment.

To prevent further bear problems this summer, Hampton had several recommendations for residents:

– Store trash in closed containers.

– Keep windows and doors closed at night, when out of the house and when cooking ” bears can smell things from miles away and are attracted to food.

– Take down birdfeeders for the summer; birds have plenty of natural food, and the birdfeeder turns into a bear-feeder.

– Clean the grill thoroughly after cooking outdoors.

– Feed pets indoors, and keep small pets inside. Pet food and pets can both become bear bait.

Eagle County requires residents to use bear-proof trash containers for curbside trash removal and prohibits leaving trash outside overnight or during the day other than collection day. The county ordinance also prohibits feeding wildlife.

The Beaver Creek bears will hopefully get a new lease on life with their relocation, although the odds may be stacked against them: a study at Lake Tahoe in the 1990s found that 70 percent of adult male bears return to their old home after relocation. Odds for younger males and females are slightly lower.

Hampton said the bears still have a chance, though.

“We don’t think that people have gotten them far enough to bad-bear status that we’ll have to deal with them again,” he said. “It comes down to people, and everyone’s going to have to help out.”

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