During a harsh Rocky Mountain winter, a patrolling Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer spotted a young, starving black bear. Weighing only 25 lbs, the bear was taken to a CPW rehabilitation facility. Not only did she survive the winter, but she gained over 100 lbs during the next few months, thanks to the dedication of the staff.
On a warm May afternoon, several CPW officers and volunteers met at the Gunnison field office. Minutes later, a small convoy of vehicles headed north to an undisclosed location. At the edge of a forest, far from the nearest town, the vehicles were parked in a small clearing. The group focused on the polished metal container in the back of one of the CPW trucks.
After being moved from the truck bed to a patch of flat ground, the small crowd closed in. A sliding metal panel was removed, and a healthy black bear poked her head out of the box that had been her home for the last few hours.
With a brief word of encouragement, the bear bolted for the tree line, stopping only to negotiate a deep snow bank separating her from the safety of the woodland.
Within seconds, only a furry outline could be seen through the trees, and the bear had a new home and a second chance at life in the mountains.
Months of hard work by a dedicated team of CPW staff resulted in a few seconds of action as the well fed bear sprinted for the freedom of the forest. Not every wildlife encounter ends this way, so with this in mind it is perhaps even more meaningful to watch successes such as this one.
Lake City Friends of the Bears would like to thank the team at Colorado Parks and Wildlife for allowing us to be a part of the release, and for the work they to do protect Colorado's wildlife.