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Bear/Human Encounters Increase at Mesa Verde

National Park Service
A black bear photographed on Mile 5 of the road to Wetherhill Mesa in Mesa Verde National Park

Officials with Mesa Verde National Park are asking visitors to help them keep black bears away from people and out of trouble, following an increase in bear sightings this summer. In a release, park officials say they are taking steps to ensure that the park’s small population of bears do not have access to human food or garbage. Staff members are hazing bears to deter them from visiting human-inhabited areas and are patrolling Morefield Campground to make sure visitors have secured their food and trash. Park officials are also asking that people not stop their vehicles to take pictures of wildlife, as this can habituate the creatures to humans. They warn that if wild animals in general and bears in particular begin to recognize people as a source of food, they can become aggressive and dangerous when those denied such goodies.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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