What do you do when you encounter wildlife?

  • STOP

  • Hold up your thumb toward the animal

  • If it is larger than your thumb, you are too close.
    Back up.

Don't be dumb, use your thumb

Living With Wildlife

Do your part to keep the wildlife wild. Most dangerous and potentially harmful encounters occur because people fail to leave the animals alone. Use the Rule of Thumb to honor each animal’s innate sense of what constitutes a safe distance between themselves and humans and pets that might pose a threat. If you ignore the internal boundaries of wildlife, their behavior may change. They may be stressed by needlessly expending energy to keep away from you. Encroaching on their space can prevent them from resting or feeding. It may even trigger aggressive behavior. Never try to approach wild animals.

What to do when you see a Moose.
Don't Feed Wildlife
Keep Dogs on Leash
Keep Your Distance


Aspen is centered in prime bear habitat, and therefore, the Aspen Police Department frequently is summoned to situations involving bears. Bears are wild animals and are unpredictable. While they prefer to avoid human contact, many bears have become used to spending some of their time in Aspen. Habituated bears will enter urban areas in search of human food sources. So, it is common for bears to venture into the middle of downtown Aspen during both day and night.

Find out more about bears in Aspen>>