The city is warning residents and guests that bear activity in Aspen is still at a record level and is expected to climb as bears are in hyperphagia.
This year, the Aspen Police Department has recorded 48 home intrusions and 680 calls regarding bears in town. Most of these interactions are caused by humans failing to be “bear aware,” even though the mountains around Aspen could be considered among the planet’s prime black bear habitats.
When bears become habituated to human food sources and unafraid of human contact, bad things happen. Wildlife authorities euthanized two bears after incidents where humans were injured — one on the Hunter Creek Trail in May and another in the alley behind Hopkins Avenue’s “restaurant row” in August. The bear in the Hunter Creek case was found to have pounds of seed from backyard bird feeders in his stomach.
There are many actions you can take year-round to deter bear activity in and around your home, the city advises in the public service announcement issued Friday. Securing trash in bear-proof containers and rinsing out recyclable materials before disposing of them can help reduce attractants around town.
Hyperphagia is when bears seek to consume up to 20,000 calories per day before going into hibernation for the winter.
“The Aspen Police Department is asking you to do your part to protect our wildlife,” the message reads.