Photo of crushed bear shows danger human trash poses to wildlife, Colorado officials say

A gruesome photo of a bear cub crushed to death shows the danger that human trash poses to wildlife, Colorado parks officials say.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife tweeted pictures of a 30-pound male black bear that was killed after the dumpster tipped over in Indian Hills, a small community outside Denver. The bear was reported about 7 a.m. Monday, officials told McClatchy news group in an email.

“By that time, the cub was already dead,” spokesman Jason Clay said.

The cub’s death is “highly unusual,” but it shows the problems that occur when humans don’t properly secure trash, wildlife officials said in a tweet.

“Dumpsters should always be secured so a bear can’t get inside and placed on solid, flat ground where it does not present a danger to people or wildlife,” officials said on Twitter.

Cities and counties enact trash ordinances in Colorado, not the state, officials said. Estes Park, Manitou Spring and Boulder are among the towns that have passed ordinances intended to keep wildlife out of trash, Clay said. Colorado Springs is considering a similar law, according to the city.

Clay was not aware of whether a person would be charged or ticketed for the cub’s death, he said. Indian Hills, which is a “census-designated place” of 1,200, doesn’t have a wildlife trash ordinance, Clay said

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Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.