Poking its head out of the manhole of a storm drain in west Colorado Springs, the bear looked one way, then the other, before hauling itself out and running off, hurried along by a non-lethal rubber slug fired by a state wildlife officer.
Drawn to the neighborhood near Lower Gold Camp road Thursday afternoon by what wildlife officials believe was an unsealed garbage bag containing berry-filled branches, the bear was first spotted hiding in a storm drain.
Residents of a nearby nursing home were asked to remain inside their rooms while Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials worked to get the bear out of the drain and back into the woods.
About 6 minutes after the manhole cover was removed, out came the bear, estimated to be 3 to 4 years old and about 250 lb. An @COParksWildlife officer fired a non-lethal rubber slug at the bear as officers chased it into an open space behind this #ColoradoSprings neighborhood. pic.twitter.com/F4f6FEcFI9— CPW SE Region (@CPW_SE) July 26, 2018
It took the bear, estimated to be 3 or 4 years old, about 6 minutes to emerge once the cover was removed from the manhole.
Why did this bear pick this storm drain in this neighborhood? Within eyesight maybe a hundred yards away, @COParksWildlife officers found an open garbage receptacle filled with garbage and branches from a tree filled with berries. pic.twitter.com/L9aW3evFhU— CPW SE Region (@CPW_SE) July 26, 2018
According to authorities, the rubber slug gave the bear “an extra lease on life.”
Bears that lose their fear of humans or repeatedly return to rummage through garbage are put down.
“We don’t want to punish a bear for (people) not securing their garbage,” said CPW spokesman Bill Vogrin. “That’s a reason we hate this, it’s incumbent that the neighborhood secures their garbage.”