DENVER – Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers rescued a yearling bear injured in the East Canyon Fire, which is burning west of Durango, on Tuesday and are now working to rehabilitate its burned feet.
CPW says the bear is expected to make a full recovery. Firefighters noticed the bear walking near a pond on Tuesday afternoon on the east side of the fire and called CPW officers, saying they believed the bear was injured.
Three wildlife officers got to the area just before 6 p.m. Tuesday. As they approached the bear, it did not move, CPW said.
“You could tell it was really hurting,” Officer Steve McClung said.
Officers were able to tranquilize the bear and found its feet had been badly burned in the wildfire. It was taken back to the Frisco Creek rehab facility for treatment.
CPW says the bear was alone when spotted by firefighters and is a male yearling born during the winter in 2019 who has moved on from his mother.
McClung said that officials believe the bear likely got caught in the fire and had to run across hot spots. The veterinary manager at Frisco Creek said that the bear’s injuries will likely not lead to permanent damage.
Officials said that the bear will likely be ready to be released back into the same area in about eight weeks.
Two years ago, a bear cub was found badly burned from the 416 Fire, also near Durango. That bear also made a full recovery after undergoing rehab at Frisco Creek. It was released back into the wild west of Durango in January 2019.