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DOW Launches New Bear Study

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The Colorado Division of Wildlife is launching a five-year study of black bears to determine how to reduce conflicts between the bears and humans.

Researchers in the Durango area hope to collect genetic material and outfit 50 female bears with radio collars to track their movements. The goal is to better understand the differences between wild land and urban bears.

“Are they moving back and forth between those areas readily?”says DOW spokesman Michael Seraphin. “Are the urban bears primarily staying right in urban areas and never venturing into what we call the wild land areas?”

Seraphin says the DOW also wants to know whether increases in conflicts between humans and bears are due to a growing bear population or a shift in behavior as the animals forage for food.

“And then the other portion that we’re trying to do is to learn more about bears. I mean this is an animal that we have some preconceived ideas about but we want to make sure that we are on the right track when we’re trying to manage bears in Colorado.”

The Durango study is a follow up to previous work conducted in the Aspen and Glenwood Springs area that looked at urban bear movements and interaction.

Email: brian.larson@kunc.org