Light in the Dark: Orphaned Bear Cub Rescued from Colorado Wildfires

If you live in Colorado, you’re likely aware of the wildfires currently blazing across the western and southern part of the state. Thousands of homes have been evacuated in recent weeks as the fires continue to spread. But this website is “Colorado for Good,” right? Our news tool only covers encouraging or inspiring news. Despite the destruction caused by these fires, there has been a glimmer of hope and something of a feelgood story for local wildlife. The Denver Post tells the story of an orphaned bear cub rescued from the flames.

Firefighters were working on a massive fire just north of Durango, which burned 47,000 acres of national forest. They spotted a small bear cub wandering alone through a burned-out area of the forest, but there was no sign of her mother. The firefighters quickly observed that the cub’s feet were severely burned. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff quickly began treating the animal, who was estimated to be four or five months old, at their Frisco Creek wildlife facility near Del Norte.

The manager of the Frisco Creek facility was unsure if the baby bear was going to make it. The firefighters were also skeptical of the bear’s chances, speculating that it likely hadn’t eaten in several days. How the cub became separated from its mother is unknown, but wildlife professionals speculate she placed the baby in a safe place but was unable to return. Local staff do not know if the mother is still alive.

There is a slight danger to treating bears to injuries. After a period of time, cubs can become habituated to human interaction, making them unfit to return to the wild. To address this issue, the staff members at Frisco Creek have arranged so that the bear has very limited interaction with humans; when she receives treatment, she is anesthetized, then wakes up when humans are no longer present. Professionals estimate that her feet will need to be bandaged for up to a month; after that time, she will move into a larger facility with four other cubs. Though no decisions have been made about how the bears will be released, it is encouraging and inspiring to know that these professionals are doing all they can to ensure the health and safety of this baby bear.


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