Keeping Boulderites safe from bears and mountain lions

This story is courtesy of Newsteam, posted on 07 October 2011.

The City of Boulder is updating its Urban Wildlife Management Plan to include a section on bears and mountain lions. The current plan only covers general ways to deal with wildlife. Valerie Matheson, City of Boulder Urban Wildlife Conservation Coordinator, began drafting species-specific parts of the plan in 2009.

Prairie dogs were the first focus. The bear and mountain lion portion went before city council on Oct. 16. The plan aims to educate locals on how tominimize conflicts with the animals.

For the most part, the animals come into the city looking for food. Bears generally go after people’s trash, fruit trees, or bird feeders. Keeping trash somewhere that is inconvenient for the bear or indoors can deter them.

Mountain lions present a different problem because they eat deer and some smaller game, which means they can be a danger to people’s pets. The animals hide in the brush waiting for food, and hunt primarily during dusk and dawn.

The city’s webpage tracks bear sightings, and there have been several organized bear awareness events in north Boulder, which have the most sightings per year.

However, sightings are not on the rise. It may seem that way due to increased communication, email chains, and cell phone cameras, but encounters vary year-to-year depending on food sources in the mountains.

Sightings and details of the plan can be found on the city’s webpage.

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