On Saturday, July 11, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers euthanized a bear suspected to have been involved in conflicts at the Lost Lake backcountry campground going back to 2017.
The Roosevelt National Forest and CPW had closed the area around Lost Lake to all use on Wednesday, July 8, over safety concerns with an aggressive bear that had been observed there frequently over the past three years. Officials had received 16 reports of the bear ripping through unoccupied tents, retrieving food that was left unsecured and showing little to no fear of humans, even approaching within 20 feet of people.
Wildlife officers were confident it was one individual bear due to matching descriptions from conflict reports, being a low-density area for bears and a 2018 video posted on Instagram showing the bear entering an unoccupied tent.
While searching for it Saturday evening, the bear had come into the camping area where it was euthanized by wildlife officers.
“We don't normally manage conflict bears in the backcountry,” said Area Wildlife Manager Jason Duetsch. “If backcountry campers want to prevent something like this from happening again, they should invest in a bear canister to secure their food and scented items so bears do not get rewarded and become conditioned to living off of human food sources. When they do, they become aggressive working to get what they can smell is there, and that is when public safety is at risk.”
The boar (male bear) was estimated to weigh 200 pounds, be between four-to-eight years old, was discovered to have birdshot in both hindquarters as well as an injury to the rear left leg that did not allow it to straighten out completely.
Wildlife officers donated the meat.
Wildlife officers are continuing to actively monitor the area for bear activity, and the Lost Lake area will re-open to public use on Monday, July 20.
“We are grateful for the close coordination with Colorado Parks and Wildlife,” said Boulder District Ranger Angela Gee with the Forest Service. “We hope future campers to the area will continue to be vigilant and will come prepared for camping in bear country.”