Can you bear to leave them alone? | AspenTimes.com

Can you bear to leave them alone?

Here’s a challenge for our local population and tourists alike: The next time you see a bear, take a walk in the opposite direction.

That means no rubbernecking, no cell-phone photos, no gathering to witness the mother bear and her cubs scrounge around for munchies in preparation for hibernation.

This is easier said than done. The black bears that have made Aspen their food source for the summer are magnificent creatures indeed. They are a sight to behold ” wandering around in broad daylight, crossing streets and eating crab apples.

But make no mistake, this summer’s bear invasion has been a tragedy that is not worth repeating. Division of Wildlife officers executed more than a dozen local bruins after they broke into homes in search of food.

These creatures are desperately hungry. We would much rather have them eat crab apples on the pedestrian malls than break into homes and trash bins for garbage and leftovers. But if crab apples are the bears’ best available food source ” this entire situation is obviously far from ideal ” then we must give them a wide berth for their feast.

The more that people hang around to bear-watch in downtown Aspen, the more likely these bruins will stay put here ” because they’re too scared to come down from the trees where they have found refuge.

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Let them eat, then let them leave.

With hibernation season coming, we can expect another month, possibly two, of bears canvassing Aspen’s streets, yards and alleys for food. Instead of gawking at these creatures ” or worse, calling the cops because a bear is on your property ” let the bears be. Give them what they need ” not food, but a lot of privacy and respect.

We’ve had ample opportunities to admire these bears wandering in our midst; now let them get on with their lives, before it’s too late.

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