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Bear injured in trash truck euthanized

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An adult black bear was scooped up by a trash truck after climbing into a curbside Dumpster in Raton recently.

The bear was injured and eventually euthanized after falling out of the truck into a trash pile on April 11. Sanitation workers at a local landfill saw it emerge from the pile before calling officers who euthanized it, according to a news release from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

“This is just another unfortunate chapter in Raton’s long history of bears and Dumpsters,” said department spokesman Clint Henson in the news release. “Only when we change our behavior will bears be forced to find more natural, safer food sources.”

Henson said bears frequent the Dumpsters to find food and for daytime naps, and trash collectors have no clue that a bear is inside. The department is working with the Raton city administration to make their Dumpsters bearproof, Henson said.

In June 2012, the department created a documentary highlighting the problems about bears and trash in Raton and aired it on free-to-air digital TV in the Albuquerque and Santa Fe areas. The documentary was titled “The Modern Black Bear: Born Wild, Raised on Trash.”

Until Dumpsters are bear-proofed, the Game and Fish department recommends that residents of Raton and other areas not feed pets outside, clean barbecue grills quickly, pick up scattered trash quickly and not feed birds seed in mountain communities between April 15 and Nov. 1.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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