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416 bear and her companion was closed and
taken by truck to the remote trail head where it
was loaded on a snow-cat and hauled deep into
the mountains. At the location selected by wildlife
officers, the den was placed and covered with hay
bales, pine boughs and snow.
Within a few weeks a wildlife officer will go back
to the site and remove the den door. Bears usually
emerge from hibernation in mid-April.
¡°We¡¯ve found that putting bears into hibernation
before moving them has been pretty successful,¡±
Sirochman said. ¡°They are fat enough to survive
the winter and have their familiar home. We try to
re-create the natural conditions as much as pos-
The once 10-pound, injured, orphaned bear cub
now weighs 90 pounds. When the weather warms,
she and her crate mate will emerge into good
black bear habitat and they¡¯ll be wild bears again.
¡°Making it in the wild is tough for young bears,¡±
Thorpe said. ¡°We¡¯ve done everything we can to
give the 416 bear a second chance at a good wild
CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on
license sales, state parks fees and registration
fees to support its operations, including: 41 state
parks and more than 350 wildlife areas cover-
ing approximately 900,000 acres, management
of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camp-
ing, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating
and outdoor education. CPW¡¯s work contributes
approximately $6 billion in total economic impact
annually throughout Colorado.
food is abundant and bears eat
almost constantly in order to put
on the fat they need to get them
through the winter. At Frisco Creek
they were fed generously and the 12
cubs at the facility all grew to about
100 pounds.
As the weather cools in the fall, the
amount of food available to bears in
the wild declines; that also provides
a signal that the hibernation season
is near. So at Frisco Creek the quan-
tity of food the cubs were given was
cut back and eventually cut off.
In early January, the cubs settled
into hibernation in the metal contain-
ers they¡¯d used for shelter and where
they¡¯d slept and hid. The containers,
about 4-feet square, became their
On Friday Jan 25, the ¡°den¡± of the
Nature & Wildlife
2019 February/March
Pg 10 - The Sunshine Express
Bear injured in summer fire near Durango
now back in the wild
DURANGO, CO: The bear cub injured in the 416
forest fire in southwest Colorado last summer is
now back in the wild, hibernating in a ¡°den¡± in
the mountains west of Durango.
On Friday, Jan 25, the bear and another female
cub orphaned in the Durango area were placed
together in an ideal location - deep in the forest
where they¡¯ll find plenty of food when they wake
from hibernation.
Colorado wildlife officers captured the bear on
June 21, 2018, after receiving reports from
firefighters that a cub was wandering alone in a
burn area about 15 miles north of Durango. The
bear was then taken to Frisco Creek, the wildlife
rehabilitation facility operated by Colorado Parks
and Wildlife near Del Norte.
¡°Black bears are an important native species in
Colorado,¡± said Matt Thorpe, area wildlife manag-
er for the Durango area. ¡°Taking it to rehab and
giving it a second chance of surviving in the wild
was the right and humane thing to do.¡±
Photos of the bear went viral last summer and
media around the world reported the story. The
bear¡¯s feet were badly burned and her mother
had not been seen in the area; she was born
early in 2018 and weighed only about 10 pounds
when captured.
At Frisco Creek, Michael Sirochman, veterinary
technician and manager of the facility, applied
dressings to the bear¡¯s feet and wrapped them
in bandages a few times each week. The young
bear healed quickly and within a month she was
ready to go outside with other orphaned cubs.
The primary purpose of wildlife rehabilitation is
to mimic, as much as possible, the conditions
an animal will face in the wild to prepare it for a
successful release.
So, for bears at Frisco Creek that means that
contact with humans is minimized. Bears live in
a secure enclosure with other bears which helps
them to develop physically and socially. Large
tree branches, stumps, boulders, platforms and
metal shelters allow the bears to develop the
skills they need to survive in the wild.
The bears are also fed in a way that imitates life
in the woods. During summer and fall in the wild,
416 Bear Asleep Back Home
Cut Wildlife A Break
You could face steep fines if caught
collecting shed antlers in Western Colorado
before April 30
GRAND JUNCTION, CO: Since Jan 1, restrictions
on collecting shed antlers have been in effect on
all public lands west of Interstate 25, through
April 30. Additional restrictions apply in the Gun-
nison Basin.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say anyone
caught in possession of or collecting sheds ille-
gally during this time - including shed horns and
antlers and horns naturally attached to a skull
plate - will face fines if they ignore the law.
The restrictions do not apply to private lands;
however, CPW officials remind everyone tres-
passing laws are always in effect.
The CPW Commission approved the annual
restrictions in 2018, implemented to protect win-
tering wildlife from severe and constant stress
from human activity, primarily shed collectors.
¡°Shed collecting has become extremely popular
over the past decade because there is a signifi-
cant potential for high profit,¡± said Area Wildlife
Manager Bill de Vergie of Meeker.
¡°That has led to a major increase in the number
of collectors spreading out in areas where elk
and deer are trying to find a little respite from
winter. The last thing wildlife needs at this time
of year are people speeding by on ATVs or snow-
mobiles, dogs running around off-leash and so
on. It¡¯s a very serious problem.¡±
Each winter, as the snow begins to fall, elk and
deer move down to their traditional winter range
to search for what forage they can find. Towards
the end of the season, forage becomes very
scarce and the animals survive primarily on the
fat stores they developed during summer and
As deer, elk and moose begin dropping their ant-
lers in late winter, hundreds of collectors begin
an intense, daily search for the freshest sheds -
considered the most valuable - while the animals
are still on their winter range and essentially