Colorado

Mar 19, 2013 9:12 PM by Andy Koen

Living in Colorado means living with wildlife

COLORADO SPRINGS - Part of the allure of living in Colorado is meeting Mother Nature, literally, on your doorstep. Carlos Bernal and his son Nikola Tesla experienced that kind of first-hand encounter Monday night while on a quick trip to the Home Depot. On the drive home up Lake Avenue they spotted two bears playing around in front of some houses.

"I turned and I kind of looked at it and I thought it was kind of big to be a dog or it was a really fat dog," Nikola said. "But as it turned I could see that it was a bear with the snout and the ears and everything."

Carlos called the police to make them aware of the bear activity. He said the animals didn't seem bothered by their car.

"We sat there for a while and literally they were playing, they did look up at us, they did notice that we were there, but they seemed to be totally oblivious to it," Bernal said.

It's a little early for bears to be showing up. Michael Seraphin of the Colorado Division of Wildlife says bear in the Pikes Peak Region tend to rouse from their dens closer to mid-April. The milder than average winter could be pushing that date earlier.

Nevertheless, it's good a reminder that wildlife is always nearby.

"There are more deer probably now in the city limits of Colorado Springs than before this was a city."

True, the city makes up a big area. But Seraphin says a more likely reason for the increased population is because the deer have figured out it's a safer place to live.

"It's a protected habitat in a lot of ways, the presence of humans generally reduces the presence of predators."

Not all predators are willing to stay away. A mountain lion grabbed a family's dachshund right off the leash last week while they were out for a walk.

"We are fortunate that we live in a state that has abundant wildlife," Seraphin said. "But with that comes also the potential that there could be some negative issues and you have to weigh those balances."

The Division of Wildlife has published brochures and other documents that offer advice on how to best balance living near wild animals. Their offices at 4255 Sinton Rd. are open weekdays during regular business hours. You can also find that information online at wildlife.state.co.us.

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