Bear cub turned out to be an underweight yearling who had been alone for too long.
The abandoned bear cub that was recently rescued in Ute Pass did not survive, despite life-saving efforts from wildlife officers.
The announcement was made on May 4 by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officers, who are taking the news rather hard.
"I take this real personal," said Michael Sirochman, manager of CPW's Frisco Creek Wildlife Center. In the statement posted on Twitter, other officers from the SE region echoed Sirochman's feelings. The SE Region office stated, "I feel like I failed despite all our best efforts."
On Monday morning, the CPW received a call from a good Samaritan who spotted the cub caught during a storm along Ute Pass. It turned out it wasn't a bear cub but a young female bear who weighed about 10-15 pounds. CPW officer Cassidy English said, "She was very lethargic; she was out in the storm at night so she's very cold."
The officers quickly worked on warming up the bear who was near death at the time from hypothermia. They created a nest of blankets, turned on a space heater, and gave her fluids. Once it was driven to the Frisco Creek Wildlife Center in Del Norte, the rehab staff found out it wasn't a cub but a yearling.
However, it only made the situation direr. The yearling was underweight and the weather conditions hadn't helped. "It's the worst case of starvation in a bear I've ever seen," said Sirochman. Regardless, the staff worked hard on warming and hydrating the bear.
Despite their best efforts, the rehab staff could not save the bear. Sirochman said it was "too far gone."
Even though the rescue didn't have the happy result the team had hoped for, CPW says the homeowner who found the bear did the right thing by alerting wildlife officers instead of taking matters into their own hands.
“If you ever find abandoned wildlife, just leave it alone and give us a call, and we’ll come out and assess the situation and see if it’s truly abandoned or not," said Sirochman." So if you see a bear cub—especially this small—tunning around by itself, that’s a sign to definitely call us so we can take a look at it."
If you ever encounter wildlife that requires assistance, call Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 303-297-1192. To read the CPW's statement of the yearling, click here.
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