DURANGO — A bear rescued by wildlife officers from the East Canyon Fire in June is fully recovered and has been released, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
"The bear was taken to a remote location not far from where it was found. The bear hesitated for about a minute while it sniffed its new surroundings," the release states. "Then it jumped from the container in the back of a CPW pick-up truck and dashed into the thick cover of the aspen forest."
Colorado Parks and Wildlife posted an update earlier this month saying the 2-year-old bear had its bandages removed after its feet were badly burned by the fire.
The bear has been cared for at a facility in Del Norte, which is in the San Luis Valley. CPW said their wildlife office in Durango received a call from fire dispatch on June 16 from firefighters who reported seeing a bear that appeared to be injured and had walked into an area near a pond.
Firefighters provided a location and two wildlife officers responded to the area. CPW said when the officers approached, the bear did not move.
“You could tell it was really hurting,” Wildlife Officer Steve McClung said.
The officers were able to sedate the bear and then discovered the burns on the animal's feet. CPW said the bear is a yearling male, meaning it was born during the winter of 2019 but is now living on its own.
CPW reports that Michael Sirochman, veterinary manager at the Frisco Creek wildlife rehab facility, said the bear's paws were burned, but not so deeply that the animal was permanently injured. Bears that are taken in for rehab are usually released near the area where they were found.