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Contact: Dan Johnson, (435) 781-7702
Dinosaur, CO - An aggressive black bear that was conditioned to human foods and habituated to people was shot and killed by Dinosaur National Monument staff in the park's Gates of Lodore campground on Sunday, May 27.
The male bear, which showed up in the campground late last summer, had demonstrated no fear of people and posed a threat to the safety of park visitors. It took food from campsites and the Green River boat launch area even as park visitors tried to scare it away. It even approached and touched campers sleeping on the sandbar near the river. The Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife (CDPW) made several unsuccessful attempts to trap the bear for relocation last summer and fall.
A few weeks ago, the same bear - identifiable by distinctive color markings - returned to the campground and tried to break into the ranger residence. CDPW again set up a trap near the campground, and the decision was made that if the bear continued to threaten public safety, it would be destroyed. Late in the afternoon on May 27, the bear entered two campsites and stole food as campers yelled at it and tried to scare it away. After a park ranger observed the bear showing no fear of people and remaining in the area, he shot and killed the bear.
Park visitors are reminded to store food, garbage, camp coolers, and other items that can attract bears in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof storage boxes. This helps keep bears from becoming conditioned to human foods and helps keep park visitors and their property safe.
Although visitors to Dinosaur National Monument may not think of the park as "bear country," frequent sightings confirm black bears do live in the monument. Hikers are encouraged to be alert for their presence and report bear sightings as soon as possible at a visitor center or ranger station.