DOW, Redstone residents tussle over Tripod | AspenTimes.com
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DOW, Redstone residents tussle over Tripod

Pitkin County has experienced its share of hard-luck bear stories this summer but none quite like the fate of a handicapped bruin in Redstone.A bear with a bum right paw, known as Tripod to some and Kylie to others, is forcing the town’s residents to examine if they are doing enough to prevent bears from scoring easy sources of food.It has also raised questions about the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s policies, in the minds of some residents.”It’s become a very heated issue up here,” said resident John Hook.Tripod was the target of a search-and-destroy mission this week. Wildlife officers decided he had to be killed because he had become too accustomed to human food.”There are too many incidences up there where bears are addicted to trash,” said wildlife division spokesman Randy Hampton. Tripod “is to the point where something has to be done.”The bear has consistently entered homes and found food, according to Hampton. In the latest incident, he entered a home and raided the brownie mix.But a large contingent of Redstone residents don’t want any harm to come to Tripod.”People love this bear. It’s been around town since it was a baby,” said Cheryl Haddock, a resident and business owner in Redstone for 16 years.”He’s very friendly. He needs to be rehabilitated,” she added.Haddock and some of her friends are circulating a petition to urge the wildlife division to spare the bear’s life and send him to a wildlife rehabilitation center that it works with in Summit County. Haddock said supporters will even raise the funds to transport the bear and take care of rehab expenses.Some people have gone beyond signing a petition to save the bear’s life. Hampton said a bear trap was recently sabotaged at Redstone.That wasn’t enough to save the life of another so-called problem bear in Redstone. A bruin known as The Big Bear was shot and killed by a wildlife officer at a ranch just outside of town Wednesday night, residents said and wildlife officers confirmed.The bear had aggressively pursued food sources at the ranch, which was taking preventative steps, according to Hampton. The bear was shot while trying to crack a bear-proof Dumpster, he said. There were previous problems at the same site.The wildlife division is no longer trying to trap Tripod, although officers remain concerned about the threat he poses, Hampton said. Trapping won’t take place because officers believe it will just be disabled by sympathetic residents.Tripod’s fate remains uncertain.The bear could be a poster child for the wildlife division manta, “A fed bear is a dead bear.” The agency uses the motto to try to educate people to eliminate easy food sources, such as bird food and garbage, and to keep their windows closed so bruins won’t come knocking.In the case of Tripod, the wildlife division has received reports that some residents have left food out for him in the past and even hand-fed him, according to Hampton. In general, there have been problems with compliance to a Pitkin County bear ordinance in Redstone, he added.That ordinance requires businesses and households to keep their garbage secured inside or stored in a bear-proof container. Other provisions include eliminating outdoor sources of food, such as messy barbecue grills, bird feeders and dog dishes.Redstone can expect increasing conflicts without widespread compliance to the county regulation, according to Hampton. It’s that lack of compliance that has led to Tripod’s situation, according to Hampton.”We’ve been put into a position where we have to do something,” he said. “Unfortunately people have limited our options and want to categorize the Division of Wildlife as the bad guys.”Haddock acknowledged that community compliance needs to improve. She hopes to see more enforcement of the bear-friendly ordinance by Pitkin County.She also wants the wildlife division to give the bruins a break. Bears like Tripod aren’t aggressive nor do they pose a threat, she alleged, and they don’t deserve to be shot. “To me it’s just genocide,” she said. Wildlife officers said there have been unprecedented human-bear conflicts in Pitkin County this year because a late freeze killed most of the berry and acorn crop, staples for bears.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com


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