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Across the drought-stricken Western United States, black bears are dropping into communities and rummaging through neighborhoods in search of food.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife terrestrial biologist Shannon Schwab told Summit Daily News, “Last year there were ample food resources available…When there is a lot of food, bears will reproduce accordingly. Because of that, last year we saw a lot of bear cubs being born. This year there is less food due to the drought, and bears that were born last year are teenage bears that don’t necessarily have experience dealing with humans.”
During August, Aspen, Colorado, police recorded a 668 percent increase in bear-related calls, The Aspen Times reported. These amounted to a total of 292, compared to 38 calls received last year at the same time.
While bear encounters have only caused one death so far this summer, “The bad news…is that human foods get them accustomed to people, which inevitably leads to trouble,” ABC News stated.
According to the media outlet, a woman in Eagle, Colorado “endured five separate bear invasions in her home this year, including one face-to-face encounter on her back porch. The bear tore its claws into a back door trying to escape, leaving behind serious damage.”
A black bear also entered a chocolate shop in Colorado: “Surveillance video showed the bear taking and eating confectionary which included English toffee and peanut butter cups,” BBC reported. “He made seven trips to the shop in about 15 minutes, finally leaving after a passing car apparently scared him away.”
As fall season approaches, bears, which typically consume up to 10 times what a human eats daily, spend up to 20 hours foraging for food to increase their weight before hibernating for the winter.
“In other words,” ABC News stated, “the problem is about to get worse.”