An aggressive black bear that officials report had become accustomed human food as well as people was shot and killed by Dinosaur National Monument staff in the park’s Gates of Lodore campground on May 27, the U.S. National Park Service reported in a news release.
According to the release, the male bear first surfaced in the campground late last summer and immediately demonstrated no fear of people, posing a threat to the safety of park visitors.
The bear reportedly took food from campsites and the Green River boat launch while park visitors tried to scare it away. It even approached and touched campers sleeping on the sandbar near the river.
The Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife made several unsuccessful attempts to trap the bear for relocation last summer and fall, according to the release.
The same bear – identifiable by distinctive color markings – returned to the campground earlier this year and tried to break into the ranger residence. CDPW again set up a trap near the campground, and the decision was made that the bear would be destroyed if it continued to threaten public safety, according to the release.
Late in the afternoon on May 27, the bear entered two campsites and stole food as campers yelled at it and tried to scare it away. Because the bear was posing a threat to the safety of park visitors, a park ranger shot and killed it, the release stated.
Although Dinosaur National Monument is not often thought of as “bear country,” frequent sightings confirm black bears do live in the monument. The U.S. National Park Service and CDPW want to remind hikers to be alert for their presence and report bear sightings as soon as possible at a visitor center or ranger station, according to the release.
Park visitors are also reminded to store food, garbage, camp coolers and other items that can attract bears in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof storage boxes. This helps keep bears from becoming conditioned to human foods and helps keep park visitors and their property, along with bears and other wildlife, safe, the release stated.
For more tips on camping safety, visit www.nps.gov.