Wildlife & Garbage

The primary cause of human and black bear conflict is the availability of unsecured human food sources such as trash, bird seed or domestic fruit. 

Once a bear becomes accustomed to being around people and to relying on the easy, high-calorie meals found in trash cans, the probability of conflict increases, along with that of the bear being killed.

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  1. City of Durango Wildlife Ordinance
  2. Code enforcement and reporting
  3. Request a wildlife-resistant trash container
  4. Businesses
  5. More information

City of Durango Ordinance O-2018-6 establishes regulations for the security and placement of residential and commercial wildlife trash containers in order to help reduce human-wildlife conflict:

  • It is unlawful for any property owner or occupant within the city to fail to prevent wildlife from removing or scattering trash.
  • All trash and recycling containers must be secured or stored to prevent wildlife from accessing their contents. 
  • All residences within the priority wildlife areas are required to have and maintain wildlife-resistant trash containers.

Wildlife-resistant trash containers work!

A Durango resident captured this video in July 2021 of a bear's unsuccessful attempt at an easy meal. 

Colorado Parks and Wildlife study on reducing conflicts with bears

From 2011-2015, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) partnered with the City of Durango to study effective methods for reducing human-bear conflicts. View an overview of the CPW study (PPT), or a PDF version (PDF).

The study found that human-bear conflicts were increasing but that distributing wildlife-resistant trash containers reduced conflicts by 50%. In 2018, the City began distributing full-automated wildlife-resistant trash containers to areas identified as having particularly high bear activity through the CPW study in two phases.