CRESTONE, Colo. (AP) – Some angry southern Colorado residents are accusing state wildlife officials of killing the wrong bear after a goat was mauled. The bear they got was a sow, leaving its cubs orphaned.
Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife officers killed the bear Sunday near Crestone, 125 miles south of Denver. Wildlife officials say they got the right bear.
“And how we know that is we had a description from the property owner where the goat was killed that he saw the bear with the cubs,” Parks and Wildlife spokesman Joe Lewandowski said.
Heather Dalessio, the goat’s owner, disputed that. Dalessio said she and her husband told a wildlife officer the culprit bear didn’t have cubs.
Elaine Johnson said the bear was killed at the base of a tree on her property while her cubs were in the tree. “She got to the bottom of the tree and was killed. The babies waited in the top. The next morning they were still there. And when they came down, they just laid on her body,” Johnson said.
Parks and wildlife officers captured the cubs later Sunday and took them to a wildlife center in Del Norte. Lewandowski said the bears would be kept there only for a couple of months and would be released early this winter.
Lewandowski said the bear had become a nuisance, foraging for food and trying to break into houses in Crestone, a town of about 140 residents.
Adam Kinney, a Crestone code-enforcement officer, disagreed. “I’ve only received complaints about the dogs barking at the bears, but I’ve never once received a complaint about the bear,” Kinney said.
Separately, state officials had to wait to remove the carcass of a cub from a highway southwest of Colorado Springs on Monday after it was hit and killed by a vehicle because its mother was pacing nearby.
KKTV reports state troopers found the cub on Colorado 115 early Monday. Troopers called in wildlife officials, who waited until the mother bear eventually left.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)