Local paper Trinidad Plus featured a front-page article recently, titled "Bear Encounters to Return." Based on interviews with Colorado's Division of Wildlife officers Jim Aragon and Bob Holder, the article provided valuable information for local residents about how to prepare for another year of critically hungry and potentially dangerous bears. Factors contributing to an influx of bears are the ongoing draught and possible late frosts, both of which severely limit available food for the hungry animals. With these conditions, which are really natural parts of a weather cycle, bears would normally migrate to areas where they could find food. The problem in our area is that humans tend to leave their trash and food stuffs where bears can easily find them. The bears go for the easy-to-get food around human habitats and soon learn to open doors and windows. These new behaviors lead to Problem Bear reports and, most often, killing of the bears.
At the meeting between city and county officials, Al Trujillo, director of Division of Wildlife Area 11 said, "What we're trying to do this year is get ahead of the curve. Get public safety information and the correct containers out there, and let the bears keep moving on to safer pastures."
"Officer Bob Holder said that in response to the situation last year, subdivision residents in the Santa Fe Trail Ranch area had developed an exemplary local information website.
"The efforts these people have made outshine even the trappers," Holder said. "It's one of the best examples I've seen. We used information they developed in our own brochures."
SFTR residents Carol Rawle and Joyce and Walt Wolff, who have written several articles about co-existing with bears on the ranch, are to be congratulated for their ongoing efforts to keep us educated. And congratulations to all ranch residents and frequent visitors. We have made very positive efforts toward keeping our trash dumpsters clamped shut, keeping outside grills clean, and moving bird feeders well out of reach.
Trinidad Plus, Tuesday, April 16, 2002, p. 1.