Tijeras woman worried about Sandia bear population

Posted at: 02/13/2014 6:41 PM
By: Jorge Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4

On this warm and sunny day in New Mexico, many people are enjoying it by hitting the trails.

Taylor Laviola, a hiker in the Sandias, says that it was nice to hike without a sweatshirt.

Taylor, along with her friends, came out with their dogs to get a workout in and they know animals like to bask in the sun too, especially bears.

Chelsea Tyson, one of the members of the hiking party, says that she always carries pepper spray and goes in a group so that bears will hopefully shy away.

Bears have been seen rummaging for food in the East mountains and even along Tramway in recent years. One woman thinks sightings like these may soon be a thing of the past.

"Let's face it. The Sandias have been wiped out," said Jan Hayes, the founder of Sandia Mountain Bearwatch, is more concerned about the bears no longer roaming the mountains.

"We lost 80 bears last year and two years before we lost over 50. That's over 130 bears that have come out of the Sandias in the last two years," she says.

Hayes also thinks the bears most likely didn't hibernate this winter and it's not because of the warm weather.

"Bears only go into hibernation if they're fat and sassy and they're ready to go into hibernation. None of that happened," she said.

Hayes hopes state leaders pay close attention to what's going on in the mountains.

"I don't think in modern times a species has been wiped out from a mountain range like what we see here," she said.