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News brief with The Colorado Sun: A better bear trap and international visitors for shearing season

A Colorado Parks and Wildlife technician lifts the separation door inside a bear trap by standing at the top of it while inside of a garage. the trap looks like a box on wheels with a trap door on the front.
Hugh Carey
The Colorado Sun
Jeff Belveal, a Colorado Park and Wildlife technician, lifts the separation door inside a bear trap on Mar. 14 at his workshop in Flagler. The separation panel divides the trap into two enclosures in case cubs follow a mother inside.

Each week, we talk with our colleagues at 'The Colorado Sun' about the stories they're following. This time, we discuss building a better bear trap and sheep-shearing season, which draws visitors to Colorado from all over the world.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife tapped someone unexpected to work on a new solution to encounters and conflicts with bears.

Jeff Bellville, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife resource technician in Flagler, has designed a lighter, more versatile bear trap. Bellville was a bit more familiar with deer, but took on the challenge anyway.

“It's a classic inventor's dream to build a better mousetrap,” Sun editor Larry Ryckman said. “The idea is to safely trap and capture and relocate problematic black bears.”

Vendors who built previous bear traps charged up to $25,000. Bellville’s design costs a fraction of that.

“His four traps so far have saved Parks and Wildlife about $80,000,” Ryckman told KUNC.

On the softer side, it's sheep shearing season in Colorado. And it's an international affair.

“South America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and many other countries send people who have been trained specifically to remove the wool from animals,” Ryckman said.

State officials say Colorado is one of the top five wool-producing states, with an output of more than 2,000,000 pounds of fiber each year that is used in a wide variety of products.

As a reporter and host for KUNC, I follow the local stories of the day while also guiding KUNC listeners through NPR's wider-scope coverage. It's an honor and a privilege to help our audience start their day informed and entertained.
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