December 12, 2014

Fortuna Runs Free

video
Colorado Parks & Wildlife officers releasing a bear into the wild at an undisclosed location.

When you hear the woman's voice say that this bear has not run that far in six months, that is because she (the bear) had been in a large cage all summer and fall. And if she looks a little chunky, that is a Good Thing, since she is on her own to find a den site for the winter.

I will let the wildlife rehabilitator tell the story.
Members of the Bear Aware program were with the game warden that came to her rescue. Bear Aware volunteers educate the public on how to live with bears without conflict. 
They gave her the name Fortuna because she was fortunate enough to get the attention she needed. Close inspection could not find any breaks or serious injuries to the leg. She weighed only 40 pounds [18 kg].
Within a week Fortuna was no longer limping and eating everything put in front of her. As time went by her thin body began to blossom into a gorgeous healthy bear.
Her diet consisted of dry dog chow drenched in yogurt and honey with sides of grapes, apples, plums, avocados, watermelon and a variety of other fruits and vegetables and peanuts, lots of peanuts. Natural foods, such as wild plums, juniper berries and chokecherry, were offered when available.
Fortuna did not like when I went into her enclosure. She would run to the opposite side, climb up her log and turn her back on me. Occasionally she would turn her head to see if I was still there. As soon as I closed the gate to leave she would race over to the feast that I left for her. Her aversion to me was just exactly what it should be. I avoided her and she avoided me.
With the hot summer temperatures Fortuna, like all bears that I have had, spent a lot of time in her water tub. She made a large nest in one corner lined with pine needles and oak leaves. 
As the days began to shorten and the temperatures dropped, Fortuna became restless. Her instincts were telling her that she needed more than a pine needle nest for the coming winter.
Fortuna was given her freedom in late November in a remote mountain area. Her weight at release time was 170 pounds [77 kg]. Her coat was shiny black and thick. She would have plenty of fat and a warm coat to survive the long winter ahead.
I know this is the time of year when you are overwhelmed with requests for charitable contributions, but let me put in a good word for Wet Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitators.

No comments: