It's that time of year again...bears are out and about, eating as much as possible to ensure they survive the long mountain winters. Living in Colorado, we are all responsible to be "bear aware" - this means that we have to protect bears as they are foraging for food to prepare for hibernation. Here is some information about bears that you can share with your kiddos! At the end is a link to a great printable activity book!
First of all - what is hibernation? Hibernation is a period of time when an animal or a plant goes into a quieted state. Everything slows down so that it almost seems as though the plant or animal is asleep. Lots of different animals hibernate, but we most often think of bears when we think of hibernation.
Animals that hibernate need to eat A LOT of food before they go into their shelters for the winter. That is why bear activity increases in the late summer/early fall - they start to hibernate when food runs low, usually in November.
There are things that we can do to make sure that bears stay wild and don't spend too much time close to humans:
Put away bird feeders (save them for the winter when the bears are in hibernation).
Secure trash cans - make them bear-proof and lock them away.
Don't leave food or anything that smells in your car...bears can open car doors!
Never feed a bear or leave out food for other animals - a bear's sense of smell is 100x stronger than a human's, they can smell food 5 miles away!
When you are camping, lock all food, coolers, soaps, toothpaste, etc. in a bear box at your campsite.
If a bear learns that they can get food from humans, they will hang around and may need to be moved by Animal Control. They are safer out in the forest, eating plants, berries, and scavenging for food, the way nature intended!
Here is a link to more information and a great activity booklet for the kids:
For the adults, here is more information about being bear aware:
Bears are amazing animals and it is our job to help protect them by ensuring that they stay Wild and Free!!!