DENVER (CBS4) – A juvenile bear was removed from the heart of Denver Monday night. Officers located the animal near Interstate 25 and South Colorado Boulevard in an alley off of Jewell Avenue.
Neighbors said it was climbing fences and eventually got tired. The bear was tranquilized and then picked up by the Division of Wildlife.
“I saw a commotion outdoors, and the neighbors said the bear was in the neighborhood, in my backyard!” said Russ Dale.
“Police officer was telling us that it was going through the garbage at the La Quinta up here. And he was chasing it for like 30 minutes. And it was just going all over, climbing all the fences in everybody’s backyard. He said I think I wore it out,” Sondra Krueger said.
The bear appeared to be young, probably a year old, and there were no signs of his mother nearby.
“It was pretty scary, actually … but you know, all I was thinking about was mother. Where is mother?” Pam Dale said.
Linda Polk saw the cub pass by her hotel.
“Well I was stunned. I mean I’ve seen deer, I’ve seen coyotes, I’ve seen foxes, skunks; but I’ve never seen a bear, and I’ve lived here 60-years,” Polk said.
Patrol Officer Dan Swanson responded to the call.
“I’m like, ‘Sure, I’ll go find the bear,’ ” he said. “You know, the shootings and the stabbings and the bad, the horrible things of our job are common. But something like this — not very common. So it was really cool to be a part of.”
Officers loaded the tranquilized cub into a trailer for release back into his natural habitat.
Jennifer Churchill from Colorado Parks and Wildlife says the increase of bears in the city is a product of November’s deep freeze, a Mother’s Day frost, and heavy May rains.
“These three events basically worked together to do damage to the bears’ natural food,” Churchill said. “So unfortunately the bears right now are not finding natural food where they should be, so they’re coming into areas where they usually don’t wind up in.”
The big question is how the bear made it all the way down from the foothills into town. Parks and Wildlife officials say bears can use any number of greenbelts, creeks or irrigation ditches as corridors. It just so happens the path leading to the area where the bear was found is called Bear Creek Trail.