Letter: Killing bears isn’t the solution | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Killing bears isn’t the solution

As a repeat, long-term summer visitor to Aspen, specifically East Durant Avenue, I was particularly enjoying my visit this year, as I was given the opportunity to observe black bear behavior on at least three nights in July. The bear would access the condominium’s easy-to-open “newspaper” and “other recyclables” bins, which, it turned out, also contained food items and were not emptied by the homeowners association or management company on a regular basis.

It was particularly interesting to notice that the bear was not distracted from its singular focus, food, by noisy passers-by returning from late nights in the core nor passing traffic. If the headlight of a truck shone on the area, the bear might pause, but the bear never demonstrated any interest in the people who unknowingly came within close proximity to it.

The unique appeal of Aspen is the town’s proximity to vast areas of undisturbed nature that also are home to many magnificent creatures, including the black bear. Now, I am distraught knowing two bears were euthanized by the authorities of this town. The bears’ crime: rummaging for food in advance of another winter’s hibernation. (As a single woman, I know not to pass through dark alleys late at night and fear those who plan and intend harm, not bears.) In fact, these bears were enticed to enter town by the lax food-disposal habits of its residents.

It is laudable that Aspen’s public waste bins are bear-proof; this requirement should extend to all waste bins, public and private, food and recyclables. It also would be helpful if a broad public-awareness campaign were in place, especially during the summer months (beyond the informative sign near the water feature at Hyman Avenue mall) — one that encourages bear appreciation. Does a bear hotline exist? I would have called it to report the bear sightings and trash-disposal violations. Attempts should be made to manage these situations rather than deal with them through euthanasia.

Celia von Specht

Key Biscayne, Florida

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