DURANGO, Colo. – The young bear that was burned in the East Canyon Fire in June was released back into the wild Monday not far from where it was found, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said.
The 2-year-old bear had been recovering at CPW’s Frisco Creek rehab facility in Del Norte from burns he suffered during the fire. CPW said the bear weighed only 43 pounds when he was first captured in the fire.
But after undergoing salve treatment on his paws, and having his bandages changed 16 times over the course of a month, he recovered and was moved from a pen with concrete floors to one with trees and hiding spaces mid-July, where he spent the past month
Michael Sirochman, the veterinary technician and manager at Frisco Creek, said the bear was 110 pounds and had seen its paws toughen up before he was released Monday.
“He’s now about the weight he should be for a two-year-old bear and is in good shape for going into the fall,” Sirochman said.
CPW officers originally found the bear on June 16 walking near a pond on the east side of the East Canyon Fire, which burned in June outside of Durango. Officials said the bear was released not far from that location on Monday.
CPW said the bear originally hesitated for a moment as it looked at and smelled its new surroundings but then jumped from a CPW truck and ran into the forest. No tracking devices were placed on the bear, which officials said is expected to be fine on its own.
“Now he’s got food, he’s got water, he’s got everything he needs,” said Wildlife Officer Steve McClung, “And I hope I never see him again.”