Bear euthanised after trapping family in their Colorado home

Bear euthanised after trapping family in their Colorado home
Bears at this time of the year enter the hyperphagia phase and look for more food sources

A bear was euthanised in Colorado after it entered a home searching for food, trapping a family inside for about 45 minutes, said the state’s wildlife officials.

The black bear entered a home in the Steamboat Springs area on 7 September to find a human food source as its jaws were misaligned due to an injury, according to a press release issued by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) on Wednesday.

The bear managed to enter the home through an open garage and was trapped inside, forcing family members inside the house to lock themselves in an upstairs room, the release said.

Officers spent around 45 minutes unsuccessfully trying to coax the bear out of the home.

The bear became more aggressive towards the officers because of which the bear had to be put down “for reasons of health and human safety,” the CPW said.

“The bear had a broken lower jaw that was split in the middle,” CPW district wildlife manager Adam Gerstenberger was quoted as saying in the release.

“It had healed up wrong and one of its canines was hanging out from its upper lip. The other lower canine was shattered, so its teeth weren’t meeting up,” Mr Gerstenberger said.

“The injury is likely the reason why the bear had turned to human food sources,” he added.

This was not the first time the bear had entered a home in the area. Residents told Mr Gerstenberger that the bear had previously found food in their garages as well.

The CPW, on its website, has provided a set of guidelines that can help avoid contact with bears. The guidelines urge residents to avoid leaving rubbish or recyclables outside overnight to avoid luring wild bears into residential areas.

“Empty cans and boxes still smell like food,” the guidelines said, adding that bear-proof containers must be used if necessary and residents must pick any and all fruit before it ripens.

Once a bear finds a human food source, it usually returns for more, according to the CPW. A bear can become a threat if it becomes comfortable around humans.

According to the guidelines, such bears must then be euthanised as they can become a threat to humans.

The wildlife department pointed out that at this time of the year bears enter the hyperphagia phase, a time when their appetite increases abnormally, giving them the urge to consume at least 20,000 calories a day. This is so they can prepare themselves for hibernation.

“As bears start to prepare for hibernation and hunt for food, Coloradans may see more bear activity in urban areas,” the release stated.

It is therefore necessary for Colorado residents to store their food adequately and manage their trash properly, it said.