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Lifestyles of the Rich and Fuzzy, Take II

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black-bearAbout a week ago, Maureen Hirsch was attacked by a black bear in her Aspen home. The bear, apparently after chocolate toffee, was later euthanized. Then came another incident: On Monday, a woman was awoken by a bear in her east Aspen home when it scratched her shin as she slept on her back patio. The bear scurried up a tree. When Colorado wildlife officers arrived, they had to euthanize it due to its aggressive behavior, according to The Aspen Times. Indeed, it’s been a crazy year for bears—which you know is getting out of hand when The Wall Street Journal dispatches its reporters to cover the story. As the Journal writes, there have been “hundreds of brazen—and sometimes violent—incursions this summer,” including bears breaking into homes, cars, and trash bins. They’re even “strolling insouciantly down busy streets.” And Aspen is the “hardest-hit town.” There, police have received more than 460 calls to respond to bears since July 1. So far, state wildlife officers have killed an estimated 40 bears this year—higher than normal—after human encounters or near-encounters. Officials don’t want to kill the bears and are pleading with anyone who sees a bear to shout at it, throw rocks, or do anything to make the animals uncomfortable and look for food elsewhere. Don’t say, “shoo, shoo!” Be firm, says Randy Hampton, a spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife: “We have to make it uncomfortable for [bears] to be here.” To learn more about bears, visit the Colorado State University Extension.

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