A bear whose feet were badly burned during the East Canyon fire was rescued Tuesday by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers and is now being cared for at a CPW facility in Del Norte. The bear is expected to make a full recovery.
“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.
CPW’s Durango wildlife office received a call from the fire dispatch center late Tuesday afternoon explaining that firefighters saw a bear that appeared to be injured. It walked across a meadow and into reeds next to a pond. The location was on the east side of the Cherry Creek Road which is on the east side of the fire. The fire is burning about 30 miles west of Durango.
Wildlife officers Steve McClung, Andy Brown and Thorpe left as soon as they received the call and arrived on scene at 5:40 p.m. When the officers approached, the bear did not move.
“You could tell it was really hurting,” McClung said.
The bear was sitting in reeds and the officers used poles to push back the vegetation. That allowed them to administer a tranquilizer dart to sedate the bear. The officers examined the bear and found that its feet were burned. The bear was then placed in a trap and transported to the Frisco Creek wildlife rehabilitation facility for evaluation and treatment.
The bear is a male yearling, which means it was born during the winter in 2019 and is now living on its own. Bears usually stay with their mothers for a year. It was moving alone when it was spotted by the firefighters.
“Across the road from