By: Kris Hazelton
There is a group of friends in Estes Park who love our wildlife and don’t want to see any of them killed due to the negligence of residents and businesses who do not secure their trash. They have come up with a novel idea to help save our bears.
The group designed this colorful sticker which they hope businesses will want to display on their front window, on their dumpster, at their front desk, etc. The sticker is a Gold Star Award for being a Friend of Wildlife. The group says, “Being responsible with our trash 100% of the time can really go a long way to help save our bears. This sticker was created to remind everyone to be more responsible while living or recreating here, in bear country.”
They added, “We want to remind residents and visitors to practice proper food storage and trash disposal at all times. Intentional or unintentional feeding of bears can result in the bear being killed and/or fines for not complying with our Wildlife Protection Ordinance.
Every year, law enforcement and Colorado wildlife officers respond to hundreds of calls in which bears may pose a public safety threat and/or are damaging property. In some cases, the animals are euthanized. We can all become part of the solution and help us save our Estes Park bears by earning a Gold Star Award.”
In order to obtain this sticker, businesses must agree to always secure their trash in a bear proof dumpster or trash recepticle. They also must instruct and work with their employees and/or co-workers to do the same. Leaving a dumpster or trash recepticle open, even once, is the same as leaving the front door wide open and is a sure way to kill our wildlife.
Black bears have a highly specialized sense of smell, which lead them to where they may quickly find an overflowing garbage can or someone’s leftover hamburger and French fries.
We can help bears stay out of human territory and stick to their natural diet by properly disposing of leftover food and garbage. Garbage is irresistible to a hungry black bear. The presence of available garbage encourages bears to change their normal movement patterns and “hang out” in non-traditional areas.
Tim Nicholson recently gave out some of these Gold Star Friend of Wildlife stickers to several businesses who have committed to keeping our wildlife safe. Tim said, “The business owners and employees were so excited to get their sticker, they were beaming! They were all so happy to be recognized for keeping their trash secure.”
A big “thank you” goes out to Antonio’s Real New York Pizza, Hunter’s Chop House, Olympus Lodge, Penelope’s World Famous Burgers and Fries and Rambo’s Longhorn Liquor for being the first to receive the Gold Star Awards!
If you visit any of these businesses who have this new sticker on display, please, give them thanks and tell them they are doing a great job and doing the right thing to help save our wildlife.
If your business is a true friend of wildlife and you will commit to securing your trash through the end of the year, you can get your sticker from Tim by messaging him via the Estes Park Wildlife Protection Facebook page or stop down to the Estes Park News office to get yours. You can also nominate a business that you know is doing their part to be a Friend of Wildlife. Make sure to join the Estes Park Wildlife Protection Facebook page for information and tips on how to keep our wildlife wild.
Let’s all do our part to save our wildlife and become Gold Star Award winners and Friends of Wildlife!