Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say they humanely euthanized a bear after it showed signs of infection and suffering. Afterward, they discovered that garbage was blocking the animal’s intestines.
“The bear could not digest food and was very sick,” CPW Area Wildlife Manager Rachel Sralla said in a press release. “It all comes back to trash, which we talk about too often when it comes to bear conflicts in Colorado. The reason we had to put this bear down was to end its suffering that was caused by eating indigestible trash.”
Inside the animal, they found paper towels, disinfectant wipes, napkins, parts of plastic sacks and food wrappers that had essentially prevented the animal from digesting any food.
Wildlife officials say the bear weighed around 400 pounds. Many in the Telluride area knew the animal area after it broke into a home earlier this year.
“We could not leave a sick bear like this knowing it was suffering and struggling to survive,” Sralla said. “When you have a very fat 400-pound bear, it will take it ages to starve to death. That’s a horrific way to die, decaying from the inside out for that long. As officers, we had to make an unfavorable call. It’s a call we wish we never had to make.”
Besides the home break-in, the bear recently bluff-charged a Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer, leading to additional concerns for public safety.
CPW says anyone living in bear country needs to keep the animals in mind. Telluride has laws requiring people to securely lock their trash. However, community members need to follow these guidelines to protect wildlife and the people who live in the area.
Here are some additional things to remember if you encounter a bear.