Bear Tragedy Spurs Urgent Call for Responsible Waste Disposal in Colorado


In a poignant chain of events that unfolded in Telluride, Colorado, a bear, profoundly sick and distressed had to be euthanized by wildlife officials in response to numerous calls from concerned local residents.

During the subsequent examination of the ill-fated beast, the officers discovered a horrifying scenario. The bear’s anatomy had become a dumping ground for indigestible material such as paper towels, wipes, plastic bags, and random food scraps — veritable trash that had failed to pass through the creature’s digestive tract.

These unusual contents had effectively thwarted the male black bear, weighing around 400 pounds, from drawing essential nutrients from food. Theoretically, such a large and robust animal would likely have languished for months before succumbing to death, enduring severe hunger despite consuming food – a grim and harrowing ordeal.

Initial observations of the bear revealed a subtle foam alignment around its mouth, unusual puffiness in its eyes suggestive of an underlying infection, and irregular lethargy; it walked short distances before succumbing to rest. These signs indicated substantial abdominal distress — a clear sign of agonizing suffering.

Faced with this gut-wrenching reality, a solemn conclusion had to be reached. “The notion of leaving the bear in torment, its life energy ebbing away as it struggled to survive, was unbearable,” stated the area wildlife manager. The unfortunate life-or-death decision was made on the evening of September 9th, not solely as an act of mercy for the distressed bear but also in deference to human health and safety concerns.

Though the decision was heavy with the sorrow, it brought a measure of relief to the local bear community. “Final understanding of the bear’s internal condition validated the hard choice we had to make,” one officer stated, ensuring that the bear did not suffer needlessly in the wilderness.

The now tranquilized bear had been a familiar sight in the locality, often chased away from public areas by wildlife enforcement. There were allegations that the same bear had ventured into a residence earlier in the summer.

The persistent sightings of bears proximate to homes raise an unsettling concern that suggests an inappropriate response from residents. Ideally, a bear not rewarded with food will move on, returning to the higher reaches of the mountains. Unused food, particularly unsecured leftovers, acts as a magnet that draws them in.

Bears are resourceful creatures known for their impressive memory, which enables them to recall food sources and return to them. With a sense of smell that can detect odors up to five miles away, the leftover trash could potentially lure a bear within that range in Colorado’s mountain towns.

Following the traumatic incident, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials issued a guideline for residents to bear-proof their surroundings by adopting responsible habits like using bearproof trash cans. People are encouraged to keep doors and windows secured overnight, dispose of garbage on the day of collection, and avoid placing bird feeders in trees. Ensuring the secure disposal of trash is vital in avoiding this tragic scenario repeating again in the future.

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.


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