Two Orphaned Bears Get a Second Chance as Wildlife Officials Release Them Back into the Mountains

Here’s a positive story for wildlife conservationists: officials released two young bears back into the wild. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, rangers captured two abandoned bears this past summer. After some care and rehabilitation, wildlife officials released the bears back into the wild this past Friday.

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Wildlife officials say they discovered the two animals separately. One cub came from the Colorado Springs area. It was one of four cubs, and officials believe the mother bear simply couldn’t care for all four of the young. Eventually, the bear abandoned the cub. Similarly, the other cub was found alone in the Rifle State Fish Hatchery. 

colorado bears released
CPW placed the cubs in a sled to bring them to their artificial den. (Source: Colorado Parks & Wildlife)

The cubs spent the last few months at a wildlife rehabilitation center. Caretakers worked to ensure the animals could be released into the wild. Avoiding too much human interaction was key. Rangers placed a GPS tracker on both animals to ensure they avoid too much human interaction in the future.

Rangers placed the bears in an artificial den in the Pikes Peak area for winter.

“Of course, urban bear conflict is one of our single biggest issues, especially bears getting into garbage at area homes and businesses,” said Travis Sauder, CPW’s Assistant Area Wildlife Manager for the Pikes Peak region, in their press release. “It will be extremely valuable to study the effectiveness of our rehabilitation efforts with orphaned bear cubs and see if they really do learn to avoid humans in the future.”

Monitoring the Bears and Limiting Human Interaction

Colorado Parks & Wildlife will monitor the bear’s GPS once the weather warms up to see if the rehabilitation efforts worked out. CPW has partnered with Cheyenne Mountain Zoo for the project.

Bear cubs rereleased into the wild.
The bear cubs. (Source: Colorado Parks & Wildlife)

Wildlife officials say people should take steps to avoid interacting with bears. 

Anyone living in bear country should try to limit bear interactions. People can do this by securing trash, locking car doors, and taking other precautions to protect wildlife and people.