A small town post office in Colorado had to close for the day on Friday after a black bear made its way into the building.
The seemingly innocent story didn’t have a happy ending for the bear, though, which CBS Denver’s Matt Kroschel reported was later euthanized after it was captured and removed from the facility.
It turns out letting itself into the Pitkin Post Office on Main Street wasn’t the first close encounter the bear had with humans.
But it was the last, as euthanization in this kind of situation is ‘just a matter of policy,’ Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesperson Joe Lewandowski explained to the Denver Post.
This black bear was euthanized in Colorado on Friday, after it let itself into the Pitkin Post Office on Main Street
‘No one was hurt, but when a bear gets too familiar in a residential area like that, the danger is just too high,’ Lewandoski said.
The bear had already been tagged twice by wildlife officials, as can been in photos of the bear inside the post office in Pitkin on Friday.
The yellow tags hanging from the bear’s ears indicate prior instances when animal control authorities were called to respond to an issue concerning the animal, like coming in close proximity with humans.
This time, the bear waltzed right in the front door the post office by simply opening the door.
‘But the door only opens in, so it wasn’t able to get out,’ Lewandowski said.
The yellow tags hanging from the bear’s ears indicate prior instances when animal control authorities were called to respond to an issue like coming in close proximity with humans
The bear was found by a postal employee on Friday morning when she went to enter the building as usual, but had a difficult time opening the door because debris was blocking the entrance.
After realizing there was also a bear inside, the employee locked up and called authorities.
By about 2.00pm Mountain time, wildlife officials were on the scene and trying to shoot the bear with a dart to sedate it.
Not long after that, the bear was euthanized, Lewandowski said.
The first incident tag for the bear is recorded as having been related to a ‘food-source conflict’ in Buena Vista in May 2017, Lewandowski said.
The bear was captured following that situation and transferred to Custer County. From the bear, the bear traveled west to Pitkin, which is located close by the Gunnison National Forest.
Although this was at least this bear’s second run-in with humans, bears can be euthanized without any prior incidents tagged to them.
‘You will probably be surprised to learn it only takes 1 strike and in some cases, none at all before a bear is euthanized,’ he wrote with a Facebook Live video that he posted on the subject.
In 2017, it’s estimated that 168 bears were euthanized by Parks and Wildlife officials in the state of Colorado, and 107 were relocated, in a year that experienced an unusually high number of human-bear conflicts.
This has been attributed to poor natural food supply, which has drive bears to seek out other sources of food, often left by humans in garbage cans, or even in bird feeders.
The official policy is that euthanization is a last resort.
By about 2.00pm Mountain time on Friday, wildlife officials were on the scene and trying to shoot the bear with a dart to sedate it, and not long after that, the bear was euthanized