Cubs will be ready to go when they emerge from hibernation!

In February, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials put two rehabbed cubs on the path to a successful return to the wild. Thanks to a man-made den, the cubs were allowed to hibernate through the rest of winter and emerge on the normal spring schedule of bears in the state.

CPW constructed the den out of hay and natural resources, in hopes that it would keep the cubs cozy and safe. Check out the video of the den-construction and cub relocation process below! 

"Last month we constructed this den out of nearly 30 bales of hay, a bunch of branches for the roof and a snow mound covering the outside for insulation. An air pipe is inserted into the den to allow for oxygen flow. When they wake in the spring they will be surrounded by an aspen stand with plenty of forbs and grasses to feed on!"

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers placed two orphaned bear cubs into an artificial den in South Park on Feb. 18, 2020, so they can sleep the rest of the winter away. Prior to being relocated to the wild, the cubs had been at the Frisco Creek Wildlife Facility, a rehab operated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife near Del Norte, since early September. 

The Frisco Creek Wildlife Facility works hard to make the bears home lifelike. Heavy human interaction is strictly prohibited, as it aims to keep the bears’ natural instincts to stay away from people. It rehabilitates around 20 bears per year. 

"The primary purpose of wildlife rehabilitation is to mimic, as much as possible, the conditions an animal will face in the wild to prepare it for a successful release. So, for bears at Frisco Creek that means that contact with humans is minimized. Bears live in a secure enclosure with other bears which helps them to develop physically and socially. Large tree branches, stumps, boulders, platforms, and metal shelters allow the bears to develop the skills they need to survive in the wild," says the CPW.

The bears are also fed in a way that imitates life in the woods. During summer and fall in the wild, food is abundant and bears eat almost constantly in order to put on the fat they need to get them through the winter. They will eventually be returned to the wild in winter, so they can come out of hibernation ready to reintegrate into their new home. 

Want more wildlife content in your life? Check out 11,000 trout being stocked in Eleven Mile Reservoir!