Bear kills llama near Rifle |

Bear kills llama near Rifle

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colo. ” A black bear that killed a llama was “humanely” euthanized last week by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, according to DOW spokesman Randy Hampton.

The attack occurred about 5 miles southwest of Rifle. The name of the ranch owner or the ranch were not released. Hampton said that these types of attacks happen more often than people know about.

“It’s more common than people realize,” Hampton said. “Agriculture damage by wildlife is a significant issue.”

That is especially true during calving season, which usually occurs in the spring months, he said.

Apparently, the bear attacked and killed the llama on or about Friday, May 9, Hampton said. The bear then returned to “collect” the llama carcass and that’s when the DOW took action.

“The bear approached the landowner and showed no fear toward the human presence,” Hampton said. “They could have shot the bear and dealt with it themselves, but because they had a working relationship with the DOW, they decided to let us take care of it.”

Hampton said the DOW responded to the call and found the llama and determined it was killed by a bear. Afterward, DOW officials placed a trap and waited for the bear to return.

In some cases, ranchers and farmers can be reimbursed for loss of livestock, Hampton said, but he did not know if that would be the case with the Rifle incident or not.

“It depends on what the situation with the llama was,” Hampton said. “If it’s an agriculture situation, the landowner has the option to apply for the game damage, but there are restrictions on those applications, too.”

If the DOW deems the reimbursement request acceptable, the agency will reimburse the market value of the animal to the landowner.