December 12, 2012

Orphan Bears Returned to the Forest

The formerly undersized yearling black bear heads back into the woods. (Colorado Parks & WIldlife photo)
Last winter, I wrote about how orphan bears that had spent the summer and fall at a nearby rehabilitation center were released into a special purpose-built bear den somewhere in southern Colorado.

Recently, I learned that they had not used it through the winter. Ungrateful bears! What do they think they are, wild animals?

Meanwhile, the rehabbers had two bears to care for this past summer. One was found in the spring, weighing only 12 pounds — yet he was a yearling! How had he survived the winter? A normal weight for a yearling black bear at that stage of life would be 40–50 pounds.

The other was a cub brought in after its mother and sibling were hit by a car.

Both gained a lot of weight over the summer. As our friends reported,
Walmart once again provided tons of bear necessities. The bears gorged on peaches, plums, avocados, grapes, dry dog food (their least favorite), apples and assorted other fruits and vegetables that came with the bear packages. I also gave them as many natural foods as I could harvest. Chokecherry, juniper berries, wild plums and acorns were added to their diet.
This time they were just turned loose into the forest to find their own dens.

1 comment:

Alyssa Johnson said...

Nice posting! Love those bears!