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Underweight yearling bear with hypothermia dies after rescue near Manitou Springs

Underweight bear die_May 4 2021_CPW SE Region
Posted at 6:40 AM, May 05, 2021

TELLER COUNTY, Colo. — An 11-pound bear rescued from the Ute Pass area on Monday was thought to have been a cub, but was actually a severely underweight and hypothermic yearling, and despite efforts to nurse her back to health, she didn't survive, Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced Tuesday morning.

The young female bear was rescued from a snowstorm on Ute Pass above Manitou Springs on Monday. A witness had seen the bear collapse in a yard and covered it with a box before calling CPW.

When CPW officers arrived, the bear was near death from hypothermia. They immediately started warming the young bear and giving it fluids. The bear began to respond and officers were hopeful it may recover, CPW said.

CPW transported the 11-pound bear to its Frisco Creek Wildlife Center in Del Norte for rehab.

Staff at the center discovered the bear was not a cub, but a yearling. Yearling bears are typically between 30 and 40 pounds, according to Michael Sirochman, a rehab expert with CPW and the Frisco Creek Wildlife Center manager.

Sirochman said it was the worst case of starvation in a bear he'd ever seen.

The bear died overnight.

"I take this real personal," Sirochman said. "I feel like I failed despite all our best efforts."

Sirochman said he believes the bear was orphaned in the summer and struggled to find food. It likely burned up all of its fat and muscle in hibernation, he said.

"We saved three cubs last year, but this bear was too far gone," Sirochman said.

If you find abandoned wildlife, CPW asks you to leave it along and call your local CPW office.