LARIMER COUNTY — After a rough beginning to life, a young black bear injured during the Cameron Peak Fire is back roaming the wild in Colorado
The Cameron Peak Fire was the largest wildfire in Colorado history and burned over 200,000 acres in Larimer County from Aug. 13 when it started through Dec. 2 which is when it was 100 percent contained.
Landowners northwest of Masonville called CPW back in December to report an injured bear cub seen on their parent’s porch.
The cub was suffering from old burns on its feet it got during the Cameron Peak Fire. According to CPW when they found the bear it weighed just 16 pounds, its ears were infected from frostbite, it was severely dehydrated, weak, and starving.
Once captured, the bear cub was brought up to CPW’s health lab in Fort Collins, and despite being lethargic, officials believed it had a chance to survive.
“This is an incredibly fortunate bear,” said CPW Area Wildlife Manager Jason Duetsch. “Most wild animals don’t survive the myriad of injuries they are exposed to, let alone be found, captured and treated successfully. He definitely would not have made it through much longer. It is the smallest bear cub I have ever seen at that time of the year, which helped us make the decision to try rehabilitation.”
Because the bear cub weighed just over 16 pounds, it was kept awake all winter so it could reach a normal body weight by springtime, which would be 70 pounds for his particular bear
By the time the bear was ready to be released back into the wild, the now one-year-old weighed 93 pounds.
“This bear's drive to survive did most of the work and we just gave it a little boost,” said Kristin Cannon, Deputy Regional Manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Northeast region. “This bear went through an awful lot in its first year of life, let's hope humans can now help keep it wild by not rewarding it with our food sources and lowering its chances of survival.”