RATON – An adult black bear wound up in a landfill after it was dumped into a trash compaction truck from a curbside dumpster in Raton on April 11, 2013.
Sanitation workers at the landfill witnessed the bear emerge from a trash pile and called New Mexico Department of Game and Fish officers who located the bear in a nearby shed.
The bear had to be euthanized due to injuries sustained in the incident.
Officials at the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish say that bears frequent dumpsters in search of food and occasionally use them for shelter for daytime naps. Trash collections are unaware the bears are in the containers until they are unloaded at landfills.
The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is working with the City of Raton to adopt bear proof dumpsters.
“This is just another unfortunate chapter in Raton’s long history of bears and dumpsters”, says Clint Henson, Game and Fish Information Officer. “Only when we change our behavior will bears be forced to find more natural, safer food sources.”