The Colorado Division of Wildlife is looking for two, maybe three potential Darwin Award recipients who bought hamburgers and cheeseburgers at the Burger King in Eagle on Wednesday and hand fed them to a mother black bear and her three cubs.
“This is an extraordinary example of stupid and irresponsible behavior by people,” said CDOW northwest regional manager Ron Velarde, according to RealVail.com. “Because of their reckless actions, 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.”
So besides the obvious health risks of highly elevated cholesterol in humans, Whoppers may now prove deadly for local black bears. Burger King doesn’t have any legal exposure because the town of Eagle doesn’t have a bear-proof trashcan ordinance like nearby Vail or surrounding Eagle County. Four dead bears may change that, and anyone caught feeding wildlife can be hit with significant state fines.
According to CDOW, the bruins were drawn there by “an improperly secured dumpster at the restaurant, attracting a small crowd of people.” And so the next logical step was to help the bears out by going inside and ordering for them instead of forcing them to eat out of a nasty old dumpster.
CDOW officials hope anyone with information about the feeding incident will call them at (970) 947-2920, although they acknowledge that the perps may be back in Kansas City, L.A. or Phoenix by now, given the restaurant’s proximity to Interstate 70.
“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. “But 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.”