Wildlife officials fine couple $400 for feeding bears in Douglas County

A Douglas County couple cited for knowingly luring bears has paid $400 in fines and wildlife officials are using the incident to remind the public of safety concerns, for both humans and animals, associated with feeding wildlife.

Wildlife officials in late September responded to multiple complaints in the Castle Rock area of residents feeding bears, said Jason Clay, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman.

An “elderly” couple, who live in the Dawson Butte area south of Castle Rock, were fined $200 a piece for the infraction, Clay said. They also paid surcharges.

“It is selfish and unethical to feed bears,” said Area Wildlife Manager Matt Martinez, in a Tuesday news release. “You are going to end up unintentionally killing those animals and also putting yourself in harm’s way. If what you want is a pet or just to connect with an animal, choose a domestic breed that has evolved to live with people.”

The $200 fine is for a first offense, Clay said. A second offense is a $1,000 fine and a third offense is $2,000, plus surcharges.

“Attracting bears to your property by providing food for them causes animals to congregate in one area,” the release said. “This can lead to an increase in human-wildlife conflict.”

Wildlife that is “habituated” can be a danger to people, wildlife officials said. When an animal is deemed dangerous and a public threat, it is euthanized.

Lured bears often end up rummaging through trash and they’ve been known to break into vehicles, garages and homes looking for a meal. Such behavior can have lethal consequences.

“Wildlife is always the ultimate loser,” Clay said.

Luring and feeding bears has been a reoccurring problem in the Castle Rock and Larkspur areas, according to wildlife officials.

“I find that there are some misconceptions that feeding bears will lead to fewer conflicts with animals,” said District Wildlife Manager Sean Dodd in the release. “Nothing could be further from the truth. Feeding bears only attracts more bears, which leads to more conflict in a given area. In the end, feeding bears is selfish and ultimately ends up leading to the bear’s death.

To report wildlife violations call 303-291-7227 or 1-877-265-6648; tips can be emailed to [email protected]​​.

 

Source: Read Full Article