Several witnesses claimed people were feeding the four bears by hand.
"This is an extraordinary example of stupid and irresponsible behavior by people," Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde said in a news release. "Because of their reckless action, the sow and the cubs now know that people mean food. This dramatically increases the likelihood that these bears will get into trouble in the future and have to be put down."
This particular mother bear was previously reported for searching a car for food.
The DOW is hoping someone will report the people responsible for feeding the bears by calling 970-947-2920.
Wildlife officials also encourage businesses to install "bear-resistant" Dumpsters, to discourage bears from going through them in hopes of discovering food.
"Many of these restaurants are places where people on their way to another part of the country stop to eat, so it's possible that the people who fed the bears are long gone," Area Wildlife Manager Perry Will said in a news release. "What might have started out as a great photo opportunity for them creates a big problem for us. Locals and visitors alike need to understand that we will not tolerate anyone putting our citizens and our wildlife at risk."
For more information about living with bears, go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us/wildlifespecies/livingwithwildlife/mammals/livingwithbearsL1.htm.
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