A grant to Bear Smart Durango has been invested in bear-resistant garbage cans that will rotate among Durango West I residents who need a can until they can get their own.
Bryan Peterson, who founded Bear Smart in 2003 to educate people about coexisting with ursines, delivered 12 loaners Tuesday.
One went to Alan Batiste, whose patio was invaded recently by a bear interested in the contents of his unsecured garbage can.
The bear broke a slat in Batiste’s patio fence to get to the food.
The loaner-can program is sponsored by Bear Smart, Durango West Metropolitan District No. 1 and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The goal is to reduce the availability of food to bears in a subdivision that has few secure garbage cans. The subdivision has 260 homes, 53 of them rentals.
Bear Smart received $5,000 from La Plata Electric Association last year to buy loaner cans. This year, The Summerlee Foundation contributed $8,000 and an anonymous donor put in $300.
Cans are being left at homes where bear activity has been greatest.
Peterson bought 22 cans of 64- and 95-gallon capacity. The money also will help fund installation of electric fencing and the purchase of noisemakers.
Phoenix Recycling donated a dozen 95-gallon receptacles to be used to store pet food, bird seed and grain.
Durango West I was chosen because of multiple bear problems. The district takes the matter seriously. It has a person who takes reports of bear incidents and passes the information along to Parks and Wildlife and Bear Smart.
Durango West I residents are asked to report any and all bear incidents to Kathy Phelps at 749-3188.
The Metropolitan District has issued three $100 citations to residents who have made it too easy for bears to get into their garbage cans.
The delivery of the cans coincides with a news release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife about increasing movement of bears on the lookout for readily available food.
Bears, as they prepare for their winter snooze, consume 20,000 calories a day as a cushion against months in the den.