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Colorado park rangers issue critical warning to residents after euthanizing bears: 'Please keep them alive and wild'

"Close your garage doors. Lock [your] vehicles. Remove attractants."

"Close your garage doors. Lock [your] vehicles. Remove attractants."

Photo Credit: iStock

Colorado Parks and Wildlife recently issued a warning to state residents via a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, calling out one Colorado Springs resident who left their trash unsecured and spilling out on the ground. 

What happened?

"This is how a bear's stomach gets so full of plastic that it [has] to be euthanized," the organization wrote. "Please secure your garbage. Close your garage doors. Lock [your] vehicles. Remove attractants. Bears are foraging 20 hours a day now. Please keep them alive and wild."

The accompanying photo shows several overflowing trash cans with one tipped over spilling onto the road — a potential feast for any hungry bear that happens to walk by.

As bears' habitats and food sources have shrunk due to human pollution in recent years, more wild bears have begun venturing into neighboring towns and eating whatever they can find. Not only is this dangerous for humans, but it is also dangerous for the bears as they end up ingesting plastic waste and sometimes have to be euthanized as a result.

Why is this concerning?

In nearby Telluride, Colorado, a sick bear was recently euthanized after it was discovered stumbling around in public, and officials determined that it could not be helped. Upon examining the contents of its stomach, they found that it had suffered from a massive amount of plastic waste blocking its digestive system.

"To be eating and eating and not able to break down any of that food would have been a really sad and horrific way for that bear to suffer as it died," John Livingston, a spokesperson from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, told CNN.

What can be done to prevent it from happening more?

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife X account was clear: residents must take proper measures to ensure that their garbage is not accessible to bears.

"It's the law in #ColoradoSprings to secure your garbage with bear-resistant trash cans or other means for everyone west of Interstate 25, as in this photo," the account wrote, responding to another account that didn't see what the problem was, as it was probably trash pickup day anyway.

Other commenters who responded mainly did so with angry face emojis.

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