Wildlife officials: Bear cub that suffered burned paws in 416 Fire recovering well

DENVER – A bear cub that was burned in the 416 Fire in southwestern Colorado last month is recovering well and is now staying in a pen with other orphaned bear cubs, wildlife officials said Friday.

The bear was discovered by firefighters on the 416 Fire during the week of June 18. She was wandering alone on the southern edge of the fire, CPW says, and had serious burns on her paws. They watched her for several days and didn’t see her mother so on June 22, wildlife officers tranquilized the cub and took the animal to CPW’s facility in Frisco Creek.

Since then, the bear has been undergoing treatment and on Friday, CPW officials said she’d recovered enough that the bandages were taken off her feet.

“The burns have healed nicely and at this point I’d say her paws are about 95 percent healed,” facility manager Michael Sirochman said. “She still has a few nicks on her feet that we’re keeping an eye on so we’ll probably examine her a few more times during the next month.”

The cub weighed just 10 pounds when she was brought in and officials said she now weighs in at 26 pounds.

The cub is now being housed in a pen with four other orphaned bear cubs. Sirochman said he’d like to get all the cubs up to about 90 pounds so they have enough fat to make it through hibernation.

CPW aims to return the bears to the wild in January, when they’ll take the animals to a remote area and build dens for them for hibernate in. The cubs will then emerge from hibernation on their own.

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