MONTEZUMA COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Another bear will undergo rehab after being burned in a wildfire in Montezuma County. Data from Inciweb shows the East Canyon Fire has scorched more than 2,500 acres near Mancos.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers rescued the male yearling whose feet were badly burned by the fire. Firefighters first saw the animal appearing to be injured, walking across a meadow toward a pond.
The bear was spotted on the east side of the fire.
Officers rushed to find the bear, and when they approached it, they say it did not move.
“You could tell it was really hurting,” Officer Steve McClung said.
After tranquilizing it, the bear was loaded into a cage and taken to the Frisco Creek wildlife rehabilitation facility in Del Norte.
Experts there say the burns are not too severe to cause permanent damage. The bears paws were wrapped in bandages.
The bear was born in the winter of 2019 and is now living on its own, CPW said. The facility’s veterinarian says the bear weighed 43 lbs. and was thin. He added that’s not unusual, and the bear is expected to recover and be released in about eight weeks.
“We always hate to see injured animals, but we’re pleased we were able to rescue this bear so we can nurse it back to health and return it to the wild,” said Matt Thorpe, area wildlife manager in Durango.
In 2018, CPW officers rescued another bear from the 416 Fire near Durango. It made a full recovery. It was placed in a man-made den with another cub west of Durango in January of 2019.
CPW says the bears were seen via game cameras emerging from the den. It’s not clear how those bears are doing now.