Why Feeding Stations for Bears Won’t Work

Given the recent query in comments about feeding the hungry bears, Randy Hampton from the Colorado Division of Wildlife sent me this.

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Why Feeding Stations for Bears Won’t Work

By Perry Will and Randy Hampton

Recent media reports have highlighted the challenges facing black bears this year. A late frost that eliminated a lot of the natural berry supply and a hot, dry summer have made food tough to come by for bears. Even some recent rainfall may be too little too late.

Now, some people are asking why the Division of Wildlife doesn’t set up feeding stations, drop dog food from helicopters or place restaurant waste food into the woods to keep bears from coming to town searching for food. We understand people’s desire to protect wildlife, but we want to point out some of the biological reasons that make feeding bears a bad idea.

First, while natural food is hard for bears to find, it isn’t impossible to find. Bears, like most animals, are opportunistic feeders – they want food that is easy to find. Unfortunately, easy food often comes from people. Whether it is trash, birdfeeders, barbecue grills, pet food or fruit trees, bears have adapted to a new supply chain of food. As long as the easy to find human food is available, bears will incorporate it into their diet. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bears in town all over the place.