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New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Clint Henson, (575) 445-2311
Public contact: (505) 476-8000
clint.henson@state.nm.us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JULY 1, 2013:

BEAR ATTRACTED BY BIRDFEEDERS RUINS CAMPING TRIP, DIES

RATON – Department of Game and Fish officers trapped and killed a black bear Sunday after it tore open a tent with two campers inside in the Lake Alice Campground at Sugarite Canyon State Park near Raton.

The women in the tent were able to escape and set off their car alarm, which scared the bear away. The frightened but uninjured women then drove to a restaurant in Raton.

Department officers who responded to the call early Thursday morning said the bear apparently was attracted to the campground by birdfeeders hung by campers. The bear went from campsite to campsite, knocking over birdfeeders and grills before raiding the women’s tent. The women did not have any food in their tent. Most other campers in the campground were sleeping in camp trailers.

The bear was killed because it posed an obvious human safety risk to future tent campers.

“We can’t emphasize this enough: When you are camping, don’t put up birdfeeders or leave any other food sources out that may attract bears or other wildlife,” Conservation Officer Clint Henson said. “In this case, putting out birdfeeders put everyone in that campground at risk and resulted in the bear’s death.”

Sugarite Canyon State Park has seen a significant reduction in bear encounters since bear-proof trash containers were installed in campgrounds. Unfortunately, this bear was able to associate the campground with birdfeeders.

The Department of Game and Fish urges campers and others who visit or live in bear country to stay safe and help protect wildlife by properly disposing and storing food and garbage. That includes bird feeders, pet food, garbage, soda pop and toiletries. Even gum or toothpaste inside a tent can attract a bear.

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