Wildlife

Wildlife is plentiful here in Cordillera. Just some of the wildlife you may be lucky to see includes black bears, coyotes, moose, fox, mountain lion, deer and elk. Preventing problems with wildlife is a community effort. Keep wildlife wild!

Public Safety, in concert with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, monitors the wildlife that share the mountains with residents. Report negative encounters with wildlife to Cordillera Public Safety at 970-926-2335 who will work with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Bears

Cordillera is prime habitat for black bears. In 2001, Cordillera adopted a resolution aimed at preventing human-bear interactions. Thanks to community-wide support, the program has been successful. 

Black bears normally avoid humans, although they are not afraid of people. Bears easily become accustomed to eating human food whether from garbage, bird feeders, barbecues or homes. When bears develop bad habits, the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife relocates or destroys it. Cordillera works hard to prevent this. 

Please remember the following:

  • Feeding pets outdoors is prohibited. Water bowls are acceptable.
  • Clean barbecue grills after each use. Hang rags soaked in strong-smelling detergents or filled with moth balls to discourage wildlife.
  • Deadbolt exterior doors, especially if your house has lever-style door handles. They have walked into homes using this style handles.
  • If you store pet food in the garage, consider keeping it in plastic bags.
  • Keep lower-level windows closed, especially while cooking or baking.
  • Bear (pepper) spray can be a good tool to use against bears.
  • Contact Vail Honeywagon at 970-476-3511 to arrange for repairs to trash containers.
  • Do not store food or garbage inside of vehicles.
  • Trash and garbage must be stored in bear-proof containers, with the lids closed and secured.

Coyotes

Coyotes are native to the Western United States and Canada and are commonly seen in Cordillera. They are territorial and may chase or kill other canines, including dogs and foxes. They readily lose their natural cautiousness around people. However, human encounters with coyotes are rare. Precautions to prevent negative encounters with coyotes include:

  • Leash dogs. Pets running loose are prime targets for coyotes.
  • Feeding pets outdoors is prohibited. Water bowls are acceptable.
  • Eliminate all human sources of food, especially garbage. 
  • Make noise or throw things. Do not allow coyotes to feel comfortable around humans.

Moose 

Moose are magnificent creatures and are exciting to see, but can be very dangerous. Precautions to prevent negative encounters include:

  • Leash dogs. 
  • Keep your distance. If a moose reacts to your presence, you are too close. 
  • Females will defend their calves aggressively. Bulls will defend their territory with increased aggression during the fall mating season in late September through November.

If a moose charges:

  • Run away.
  • Get behind a large tree, rock or other object.
  • If you are knocked down, get up quickly.

Mountain Lions

Every year, numerous mountain lion sightings are reported. Statistically, a lion attacking a pet or person is rare, but precautions must be taken including:

  • Closely supervise children when they play outdoors, especially around dawn and dusk.
  • Mow the grass on your lot to eliminate cover for lions, which like to stalk in tall grass and bushes. (Contact the Design Review Board before cutting native areas.)
  • Leash dogs.
  • Make noise when coming and going, especially from dusk until dawn.
  • Turn on outside lights before stepping outside.
  • Stay calm. Back away slowly facing the lion.
  • Do not run. Running may trigger the lion's predatory instinct to chase you. 
  • Open your jacket and raise your arms to make yourself appear larger.
  • Pick up young children.
  • If a lion behaves aggressively, throw rocks, branches or anything you can find without crouching down or turning away.
  • Wave your arms and speak firmly.
  • Fight back.
  • Remain standing if possible and get up if you are knocked down.


Additional information can be found on the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website.

  1. Divide Gate

    Phone: 970-926-2335

  2. Colorado Parks and Wildlife

    Phone: 970-947-2920