A black bear that began acting too comfortable with humans and their meals in Dinosaur National Monument, and which even tried to break into a ranger's residence, has been put down by park staff.
The bear was shot and killed in the monument's Gates of Lodore Campground on May 27, a park release said.
"The male bear, which first showed up in the campground late last summer, had demonstrated no fear of people and posed a threat to the safety of park visitors," said Chief Ranger Dan Johnson. "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."
Several attempts were made last summer and fall by Colorado wildlife crews to relocate the bear, but the bruin kept returning to the area, the chief ranger said.
"A few weeks ago, the same bear – identifiable by distinctive color markings – returned to the campground and tried to break into the ranger residence," Chief Johnson said.
On May 27, the bear returned and entered two campsites and stole food despite campers yelling at it.
"After a park ranger observed the bear showing no fear of people and remaining in the area, he shot and killed the bear," the chief ranger reported.
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 and rafters are encouraged to be alert for their presence and report bear sightings as soon as possible at a visitor center or ranger station.