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There's A 'Bear Epidemic' Out West, And It's 'About To Get Worse'

Perhaps not the sight you want to see when you come home: A black bear.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Perhaps not the sight you want to see when you come home: A black bear.

As Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen has reported for All Things Considered, encounters between humans and bears are up sharply across the western U.S. The bears are having to cover more territory because of droughts that have dried up some of their natural foods, including berries.

Today, ABC News adds that "across the West, communities are in the midst of a black bear epidemic this summer as the hungry critters venture into backyards and neighborhoods in a search for food."

And now, with cooler weather coming, bears are starting to "bulk up for winter hibernation," ABC adds. "In other words, the problem is about to get worse."

Aspen, Colo., already logged a record "292 bear calls in August, a whopping 668 percent increase compared with the 38 bear calls logged in the same month last year," the Aspen Times reports.

In Vail, Colo., last week, the local Daily posted photos of a "ninja bear" that evaded capture.

Yes, we do seem to have a thing for stories about bears, real and toy:

-- Bears With Taste For Beer Have Quite A Night In Norway.

-- Sweet Story: Bear Breaks Into Candy Shop, Feasts; Camera Captures It All.

-- Belarus Invaded By Teddy Bears! Two Generals Sacked.

-- 'Falling Bear,' We Hardly Knew You; Famous Bruin Killed On Highway.

-- Jewel (The Bear) Gives Birth To (At Least) Two Cubs.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

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