Boulder, CO – Sinapu, Sierra Club and In Defense of Animals are canvassing Boulder neighborhoods west of Broadway this fall and “tagging” residences that attract bears. The non-citation tags developed by the groups warn:
• Put your garbage out the morning of pickup only, and ask your trash company about bear proof containers.
• Bring bird feeders in at night and clean grounds of seeds and hulls.
• Harvest fruit trees as they ripen and clean up fallen fruit.
The groups have discussed trash code enforcement matters with Boulder City Council and city officials. The groups have also met with the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) to pinpoint neighborhoods that have had numerous bear interactions. City and state officials and the three wildlife groups hope to encourage people to come into compliance with state laws and local ordinances concerning bear attractants.
Colorado Revised Statute does not allow people to knowingly attract bears with food or edible waste. Fines can be levied for attracting bears with garbage, bird feeders, pet food, or BBQ grills. Violators are subject to fines: $100 for 1st offense, $500 for 2nd, and $1000 for 3rd and subsequent offenses (C.R.S. §33-6-131.)
Boulder’s trash ordinance requires that trash and recycling may only be put out the same day as collection. Non-compliance may result in a fine of $100 or $1000 (Boulder Revised Code §6-3-5e and §5-2-4.)
In Colorado, bears that are deemed a “nuisance” are tagged. If they are caught a second time they are killed by the DOW under the agency’s “two-strike” policy.
Billie Gutgsell and Morgan Crowley of Sinapu have been coordinating the volunteer effort on behalf of the wildlife organizations. “We’re encouraged that students and community residents have been helping out with this public education campaign,” Crowley said.
“We’re hoping that if we can educate people, then they will take responsibility and work to not attract bears to residences and businesses with fallen tree fruit, bird feeders, and easily accessible garbage. If we can do this then we can save bears,” said Gutgsell.
“It’s especially important that cubs don’t learn these behaviors from their mothers, and that we give them a chance to stay wild,” Crowley added.
To volunteer for the tag team and bear smart citizen campaign, call Morgan Crowley, Sinapu, 720.771.9268
Billie Gutgsell || Sinapu, Bear Aware Program Assistant || 303.447.8655, Ext. 0#