May 19, 2014 7:48 PM by Greg Dingrando
COLORADO SPRINGS - Bear sightings in Colorado Springs are nothing new, but the most recent one was in the busy downtown area.
One was spotted Monday morning near the sheriff's office complex and it certainly got a lot of people's attention.
"Usually hear about them on the westside, but not downtown," said Kim Cosmo-Girnus.
"It surprises me they wouldn't be scared by the vehicles and all the people around," said Courtney Brown.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife said its certainly not normal, but not unheard of. They said it happens about once a year when bears get so hungry they start exploring new parts of town.
"A bear is always going to follow its nose. So definitely any kind of trash or food smells from downtown. If it attracts people its going to attract bears as well," said Abbie Walls with Parks and Wildlife.
The idea of coming face to face with a bear is drawing some mixed feelings from workers downtown.
"I'm actually a little excited because I'm hoping I'd see it," said Cosmo-Girnus.
But Brown has a different take on it. "It's a little unnerving considering how many people down here," said Brown.
So what happens if you do come across a bear? First, don't just take off running, you need to stand your ground. You can yell at the bear and let it know its the one in the wrong place. Then you want to make yourself big by putting your arms. It might seem silly, but it could save your life.
"You want to make it feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. More often times than not, the bear is more afraid of you than you are of him," said Walls.
Its hard to say if the bear will return, but Parks and Wildlife said one thing that will help keep the bear out of the urban areas is a good rain.
"If we continue to have good moisture the bears won't need to search as hard for food because they'll have a lot of natural food sources. So as long as we keep getting good rain we hope to have a good bear season," said Walls.
But if Mother Nature doesn't cooperate, keep in mind bears could pop up anywhere there's food, even the busy downtown.
As for protecting your home from bears don't leave your trash out until the morning of pick up, remember to clean your grill after using it, and don't leave bird feeders out all day long.