After destroying a tent with people inside, a particularly brave black bear is causing this White River National Forest campground to close.
Pitkin County, Colorado has a problem on its hands. By recent events, the White River National Forest’s black bear population is no longer afraid of humans. At all.
While the species is typically a very curious one, many black bears will also do anything to avoid trouble – including abandoning their own cubs. So when a particular black bear destroyed a tent at the Avalanche Campground while people were inside – officials took note.
We know what you’re thinking – surely there was lovely-smelling food inside the tent to attract the bear? But there wasn’t. According to Colorado wildlife officials, not a single ounce of food, or anything producing a strong smell, was present in the tent beside the humans themselves. Which means this particular black bear has zero fear of humans – and knows to associate our belongings with an easy meal.
Several tragic North American fatalities have come in 2021 due to black bears. It is exceptionally rare for an American black bear to kill a person, but as we’re seeing this year, it may not be “exceptional” much longer. Continued habituation of the bears to humans means we pose far more danger to each other as species.
Thankfully, no one was injured during this encounter. But officials in the White River National Forest are closing the Avalanche Campground as a precaution. Better safe than sorry.
The Colorado campground rests between Carbondale and Redstone off the state’s Highway 133. Aspen-Sopris District Ranger Kevin Warner tells local CBS Denver: “the bear and possibly others in the area understand that campsites mean food and they may not be afraid of people.”
Colorado Black Bears Losing Fear of Humans
As a result of the incident, the Avalance Campground will remain closed at least through Labor Day, the park says.
The behavior comes as part of a startling pattern. It is not, however, unexpected. The pandemic has led to more and more people spending extensive time outdoors. Many of whom are inexperienced with bears and the “musts” of bear country.
And let’s face it, we humans are fond of bears. Black bears are this wildlife tech’s favorite animal! But while these urisnes range from adorable to huge and majestic – they are still wild and tremendously dangerous animals. In addition, the latest research on the curious species shows they’re far more intelligent and adaptable than most give them credit for.
With a string of black bear maulings taking place across North America this summer alone, it is definitely wise for the park to close any local campsites and facilities to the public.
For more information on how to avoid, or survive a black bear encounter, head to Outsider’s Surviving a Black Bear: How to Prevent Encounters and Deter an Attack next.