Part of living in Colorado means learning to coexist with the many different types of wildlife that also inhabit the state.

While it can be extremely exciting to encounter wildlife, it's also important to give them space and allow them to remain as wild as possible. And sometimes, because we do live in such close proximity to these animals, special measures need to be taken in order to allow this harmony of living together continue to successfully happen.

For instance, volunteers working with Colorado Parks and Wildlife recently came up with a solution to combat a frequent issue pertaining to wild animals that residents in many Colorado cities face, which is black bears breaking into homes. Bears can be super destructive when trying to get their paws on food or garbage, oftentimes completely tearing down doors in the process.

As a way to deter bears from entering homes and properties in the Colorado Springs region, the team of volunteers created 'unwelcome mats.' The mats are a basic design that includes a board with screws or nails protruding out of it. CPW says the unwelcome mats should be placed near property entrances, gates and storage areas to prevent bears from accessing human food sources. The nails and screws would prick a bear trying to enter a property, but would leave no injury or long-term damage to the animal.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

CPW explained that bears are very smart creatures, and respond well to rewards and deterrents, which is why the mats are such a great tool. By placing more unwelcome mats at residences around the state, wildlife officials hope to see a decrease in bear-related conflicts. Plus, fewer conflicts that arise means less chances of bears having to be euthanized for their behavior.

Wildlife officials note that most human-bear conflicts in Colorado originate from human-provided food. Bears are strongly drawn to the aromas of food and garbage, and can pick up a scent from over a mile away, which is why they are most attracted to getting indoors to find the good stuff.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Anyone interested in becoming a part of CPW's volunteer program can contact Lara by email at: Jeanette.Lara@state.co.us.

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