Letter: Help the bears as a community
I was so saddened and discouraged — once again — to read in both local papers on June 26 that a bear will probably be euthanized because it broke into a tent near Ruedi Reservoir on June 24 and bit a man on the arm (“Bear bites man at Ruedi campground,” The Aspen Times).
It appears that food and other scented items were in the tent, but far worse, there were apparently coolers of food and freshly caught fish as well as trash that the bear rummaged through before it even continued on to the tent. As Perry Will, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, stated, “Bears are very smart and inquisitive” — and, I will add, usually hungry! This bear was doing what comes naturally, and now it may be killed for it.
Are there not obvious signs warning campers to prevent this? Again, why can’t we issue enormously costly fines to stop these violations — in campgrounds and in the city of Aspen and throughout Pitkin County? Nothing else has seemed to work over the past years — perhaps money can finally talk.
I am sorry for the man’s injuries and about the trauma that this must have caused him and his family, but it was so preventable. And now the bear will pay the price — again.
This is bear country! Many other localities — Snowmass Village, Vail, California and elsewhere (look it up online) — have managed to get on top of it and have stopped euthanizing bears left and right when the bears are just doing what is natural for them. Why can’t we as a community deal with this very human problem? We like to tout ourselves as such an animal-loving community, but we really aren’t. I just don’t get it.