(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) said it euthanized a bear after it repeatedly entered a Colorado Springs home since Sunday, April 30.
An investigation is underway as the bear’s behavior indicated it became habituated to humans, which only occurs when bears are being fed by people, said CPW.
Early stages of the investigation found the homeowners were, in fact, feeding big game. They were cited for attracting big game to their property and given a warning for luring bears, per CPW.
On Friday, May 5, CPW officers trapped the bear and humanely euthanized the animal as required by state policy. The bear, estimated to be approximately 225 to 250 pounds, entered the home three times and returned repeatedly during the past week, according to CPW.
On Sunday, the bear walked into the mud room of a home in the Broadmoor neighborhood, an area known for its wooded area and prime bear habitat in the southwest foothills of Colorado Springs.
CPW said the homeowner found muddy paw prints in the house and was confronted by the bear in their kitchen. The bear was reluctant to leave but eventually retreated after the homeowners yelled and banged pots and pans, stated CPW.
“It’s extremely fortunate no one was injured by this bear…,” said Tim Kroening, CPW’s Area Wildlife Manager for the Pikes Peak region. “This bear had become habituated to people, associating them as a food source. This created a dangerous situation when the bear was confronted in a confined space in the home.”
A bear trap and trail camera found the bear returning to the home each night around the same time. The animal entered the home for a third time through an open door on Monday, May 1. CPW said the bear returned again Friday and entered the trap.
After confirming the bear was the same bear captured in trail cam photos, CPW wildlife officers humanely euthanized the animal as mandated by CPW policy for any bear that enters an occupied home.
According to Kroening, it was particularly troubling that the bear did not turn and run from the homeowners. CPW said releasing the bear was not an option because there is nowhere it can be taken where it will not encounter another home.
“Wild bears are naturally afraid of people and avoid them,” Kroening said. “When a bear learns that human homes are a source of food, they become dangerous to people.”
CPW said it is critical people stay Bear Aware by securing trash, bird feeders, and any other attractants so that bears cannot get to them. The community is advised to keep doors, ground-level windows, and vehicles closed and locked.