West Hit With 'Bear Epidemic'

Drought fuels wave of bear burglaries
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2012 2:41 PM CDT
In this April 22, 2012, file photo, a black bear grazes in a field in Calais, Vt.   (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

(Newser) – The drought ripping through the country is having a strange side-effect: Black bears are coming out of the woodwork to raid human homes and trash bins, in what ABC News dubs a "bear epidemic." Police in Aspen, Colorado, for instance, got 292 calls about bear intrusions in August alone, up from just 38 last year.

Bears are trying to bulk up for hibernation, but thanks to the drought, their natural food supply is scarce, forcing them to look for alternatives—like human food, or the remnants thereof. "They’re looking at trying to consume 20,000 calories a day," one Colorado wildlife official says. "They will spend 20 of 24 hours a day looking for food."

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