LA PLATA COUNTY, Colo. — A bear in La Plata County cooled off from the heat by taking a nice dip in the river.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife shared a video on Friday that shows a bear swimming across a river. It was taken by the District Wildlife Manager, southeast of Durango earlier this week.
CPW told FOX21 that bear sightings are at similar numbers to last year, with 145 sightings reported in Durango compared to 153 on this date a year ago. The rain this year has been good, leading to more food in the high country. That means, bears don’t need to come to towns looking for alternative food sources like trash and bird feeders. However, bears are starting to bulk up for the winter months and there may be more sightings.
Bears will usually smell or hear you and leave the area long before you see them, but for hikers in bear country, CPW has advice to avoid surprising a bear and keep you safe:
- Be alert at all times, and leave your headphones at home. Be extra cautious at dawn and dusk, when the wind is in your face, visibility is limited or you’re walking by a noisy stream. A firm clap or quick shout warns bears that humans are in the area.
- Keep dogs leashed; exploring canines can surprise a bear. Your dog could be injured, or come running back to you with an irritated bear on its heels.
- In late summer and fall, bears need to forage up to 20 hours a day, so avoid trails that go through berry patches, oak brush, and other natural food sources.
- Keep children between adults, and teach them what to do if they see a bear. Don’t let them run ahead or fall behind.
- Double bag food, and never leave any trash or leftovers behind. Finding treats teaches bears to associate trails with food.
Never approach bears or offer food. If you’re lucky enough to see a bear, watch from a safe distance and enjoy this very special experience. If your presence causes the bear to look up or change its behavior in any way, you are too close.
Be bear-aware and safe while hiking in Colorado’s wilds.